So this is how obsession appears.
In a room that is a mirror maze, with mirrors covering the walls, floors, and ceiling. I’m surrounded by display cases that contain, among other things, 391 pieces of pottery, 1,328 plush toys, and 134 Gucci Marmont bags (main picture above). Another 182 cuckoo clocks are hung from the room’s lone wall that isn’t mirrored.It is incredibly inventive, colorful, and hallucinogenic. But given that Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, surprised the fashion industry on November 24 by announcing his departure from the Italian luxury brand, that is only to be expected.To commemorate Gucci’s 100th century, a multi-sensory installation called Gucci Garden Archetypes debuted in Florence, Italy, in May 2021. Since then, it has also been shown in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul. The show, which is divided into various thematic and immersive sections, began on November 17 in Sydney, its seventh stop, and will be open to visitors there until January 15. Known for his flamboyant and maximalist designs, Michele, 49, spent 12 years working at Gucci before being named creative director by Marco Bizzarri, who was the company’s new president at the time. After a period of stagnation, the brand saw a comeback under Michele’s creative direction. His designs have been praised for being brave, eclectic, quirky, cinematic, and gender-neutral.
He made “granny-chic,” clashing prints, and jewelry logos popular, among other things. He oversaw all of the maison’s collections and brand image as a self-described “art archaeologist” with a “anything, everything goes” design approach.Gucci Garden Archetypes is a voyage through his creative manifesto, more than just a reflection. Having started off as a costume designer, Michele remarked, “I thought it was interesting to accompany people in this almost eight years of adventure, asking them to bridge the imagined, the narrative, the unexpected, and the glitter.” Therefore, because the advertisements are the most explicit way to experience my vision, I built a playground of feelings that are identical to those in the campaigns.
This “playground of emotions” by Florentine design studio Archivio Personale, which effortlessly combines pop culture, fashion, music, set design, lighting, and cutting-edge technology, certainly took an army to produce.
Consider the restroom from a 1980s Berlin nightclub from the Rebellious Romantics Spring/Summer 2016 campaign. A couple stands in the center of the pink-tiled restroom amid subdued disco music, seemingly ready to cause trouble. They are unaware of the antics of another pair, whose presence is hinted at by the Gucci loafers and heels peeking out from under the door of one of the vivid red restroom cubicles.
The exhibition, which is sleek and surreal, reveals Michele’s diverse inspirations, which range from student upheavals to Greek mythology. For example, the graffiti walls designed for Pre-Fall ’18 pay homage to the riots that broke out in Paris in May 1968 as French youth denounced capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism, and established institutions.Gucci Garden Archetypes is a must-see for everyone who wants to get a glimpse inside the head of a provocateur who has, in the last decade, solidified his position as a prominent actor in the fashion industry in light of his departure. Ironically, Michele himself staged the swansong, retrospective, and final campaign.
The public can see the Gucci Garden Archetypes exhibition at the Powerhouse Ultimo in Sydney until January 15, 2023. Booking tickets is possible at http://www.gucci.com.