Alessandro Michele’s New Gucci Campaign, “The Ritual,” Is a Sign of the Times
For his Fall/Winter 2020 Gucci show last February, the label’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele subverted fashion show tradition by having guests enter the show through the backstage area. Focuses were reversed: The infamous chaos of backstage prep—hair, makeup and quick changes—were now the foreground of the show. Models, dressers, tailors, and glam teams set in a glass carousel were the main spectacle. Once dressed, models walked to the glass and posed for their final looks, before taking a last walk down the runway.
When it came time to shoot the campaign, Michele doubled down on this newfound transparency, inviting models to shoot their own campaigns in a time of social distancing. Whether the models are brushing their teeth, knitting, or gazing off a roof, Michele felt the campaign was his most authentic yet. “The extravagant hyper-naturalism that I have always tried to depict, now emerges even more authentically and more amazingly,” he says. “The overturning, in fact, creates a paradoxical effect: loosening control produced a narration that seems to overcome, in intensity, my own ability to build fiction. I am thankful for this imaginative experimentation because it restored the power of a dream: mine.”