“In a manner of speaking, I just want to say that I could never forget the way you told me everything saying nothing.”
An excerpt taken from the song “In a Manner of Speaking” by the group Tuxedomoon, this recurring message was one of the focal points of Gucci’s brand-new mini-series released the week of November 16th. The creators of the series have said that the meaning behind this quote in terms of how it relates to the newest Gucci collection is completely up for interpretation by the audience. But, after watching each of the episodes as they released, I have realized that the quote isn’t the only thing that’s up for interpretation at all.
Directed by Gus Van Sant and Alessandro Michele, “GucciFest: Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended” is a seven-part series featuring the newest Gucci collection designed by Michele himself. The series is the luxury brand’s own version of a fashion week, and it was a creative way to showcase their newest designs during a pandemic where fashion shows are no longer an option. But, the show was creative in the way that it told a story and gave personality to the garments and to the actors featured in the series.
The series follows the main character Silvia Calderoni, an actress and artist, and takes the audience through different parts of her weekly routine living in Rome. For example, in the first episode, we take a look at her living situation and watch her go about her day as usual: getting dressed, exercising, hanging out with friends and all that good stuff. In the fourth episode, Silvia attends rehearsal for a theatre performance she’s participating in, and we watch her battle her nerves and perform with passion and focus. In the fifth episode, Silvia intensely watches her neighbors go about their own days, and we get to know each of them individually and explore their own eccentricities. Though it might sound mundane, the series is also filled with poetry, high-fashion and deep messages that are up for interpretation by the audience. The show was ultimately an interesting watch that I would recommend to fashion-lovers anywhere.
With cameos from Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Florence Welch, the series explores and discusses a number of different concepts and ideas that are a point of discussion, especially today. Those concepts include gender, sexuality, sexism, the patriarchy and more… and how all of these themes directly impact fashion and the culture that surrounds it as well. Paul B. Preciado, a writer, philosopher and activist for the LGBTQ+ community, made his own cameo in the first episode of the series where he discussed this “revolution” that we’re entering in which the most ostracized groups are revolting against modern colonization and oppression.
“Fashion has contributed historically to construct the social and political differences between masculinity and femininity," Preciado said. "Clothing functions as a social skin that comes to inscribe political difference within bodies. It is impossible to understand masculinity without the history of pants, and femininity without the dress, for instance. But fashion has also participated, at least after the 1960s, to put these differences into question. In a certain sense, undoing gender means undoing pants, shirts, dresses, shoes… Fashion is therefore a ‘place’ where the meaning of gender and sexuality is constantly negotiated.”
We often choose to separate fashion from reality, but fashion is affected by society and the “rules” that have come from it. Femininity and masculinity, gender, culture, race… they are all contributors to the fashion that we have today, the fashion we had in the past, and what we’re going to see in the future. By emphasizing a “revolution,” Gucci signals the fact that we are undergoing a big change in the fashion industry, and we are bound to see some new things in the coming future. I think that this is what Alessandro Michele’s new collection is all about: the shift that we all undoubtedly have seen happen around us and Gucci’s interpretation of how those changes have impacted fashion culture as a whole.
The one word that comes to mind to describe the styles and looks that appear in this series and in Gucci’s new collection is eccentric. It is evident that Michele took inspiration from specific street style trends that we are seeing more often today, but he was able to make it his own and added strange yet very high-fashion touches to each piece that was featured, which is what makes it so eccentric to me. And the series worked to emphasize that. It highlighted the eccentricities of Silvia’s life by building a world around her that was just slightly strange; everyone dressed differently, they often would speak in prose that sometimes made little to no sense and they would perform the strangest tasks in public that you would never see anyone do in real life. Fashion - and art in general - can be a reflection of society, and that is exactly what the new Gucci collection represents. Some of my favorite looks include a black dress with heart-shaped pasties from "Episode 6: At the Vintage Shop," and a matching checkered set from "Episode 2: At the Café," but everything that each character wore was unique and interesting in their own ways. For a deeper look at all 99 of the looks featured in the series, you can see them on the GucciFest website.
My favorite episodes have to be "Episode 4: At the Theatre" and "Episode 6: At the Vintage Shop." The dance performance that Silvia and her theatre troupe perform during the fourth episode was very passionate and fun to watch, and I really enjoyed watching how Silvia received help from Jeremy O. Harris, an actor who made a cameo in this episode, to get over her stage-fright and nerves through exercises and meditation. The vintage shop episode featured pieces from all of Alessandro Michele’s past Gucci collections, and it was very cool seeing the journey that the brand has had getting to where they are today as well as the different fashion trends and styles that were prominent and popular in the past. I would honestly love to visit a vintage shop like that in real life, so if one ever opens up, I’ll be the first one through those doors.
Overall, I love how Gucci was able to overcome the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic created in terms of fashion week and in-person exhibitions, because “Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended” was an extremely creative way of telling a story through fashion as well as highlighting the evolving fashion industry and culture. Fashion week is usually seen as an exclusive event for only the elite names in the fashion industry to attend in-person, but this series made us ordinary people feel very involved and invested in the story that they were trying to tell. If you have the spare time, I’d recommend giving this a watch as well as exploring the other aspects of GucciFest found on their website. I’m really looking forward to the future of fashion culture and the interpretations of it through the eyes of fashion brands all over the world.