Filippo Fior /Gucci
For Gucci Spring/Summer 2023, Alessandro Michele unveiled his most recent collection, “Twinsburg,” which largely focused on reflection and how it interacts with unique self-expression despite looking similar.
Twin models who are mirror images of one another go down the runway to open the show. In order to heighten the mystery, the Gucci creative director divided the audience in two using a partition covered from floor to ceiling in twin and similar-looking portraits by Mark Peckmezian. He then staged two concurrent shows without the audience members’ understanding until the final model walked the runway. The wall of images was then raised, revealing a new set of bleachers and a new group of models sporting the same outfits. As Marianne Faithfull sang on the soundtrack, the twins appeared for the finale from opposite sides of the set, stretched their arms across the runway, and clasped hands.
The sophisticated concept was inspired by Michele’s upbringing. “I am a son of two mothers: mum Eralda and mum Giuliana,” he stated in a press release. “Two extraordinary women who made their twinship the ultimate seal of their existence. They lived in the same body. They dressed and combed their hair in the same way. They were magically mirrored. One multiplied the other. That was my world, perfectly double and doubled.”
The fashion house’s creative director added, “Twinsburg plays this game, producing a tension in the relationship between original and copy. As if by magic, clothes duplicate. They seem to lose their status of singularity. The effect is alienating and ambiguous. Almost a rift in the idea of identity, and then, the revelation: the same clothes emanate different qualities on seemingly identical bodies. Fashion, after all, lives on serial multiplications that don’t hamper the most genuine expression of every possible individuality.”
The 68 designs in the collection stood out on their own, in typical Michele way. He progressed through a variety of patterns, including meticulous tailoring, glammed-up sportswear, Hollywood Boulevard glamor, embroidered chinoiserie, red carpet glamour, and traditional quilting. The sequin jacket was Michele’s homage to a Fronte Unitario Omosessuale Rivoluzionario Italiano publication from the early 1970s; the Gremlins handbags were a nod to the characters from the 1980s black comedy of the same name.
A boxy bag with a curving saddle-like flap and a long shoulder strap, inspired by equestrian fashion from the early 1980s, was revived by Michele. The face was where most of the other accoutrements were worn, such as sunglasses covered in chains or shoulder duster earrings, which served to both hide individual identities and emphasize how similar everyone looked.