Gucci presented a 93-look collection in Rome for Resort 2020 at the Capitoline Museums, one of the first public museums. One might go so far as to call it a foray into democracy facilitating the enjoyment of art among not just owners of art, but anyone. And to call it such would be an apropos supposition given the nature of the show, which no doubt perpetuated the notion of art for enjoyment’s sake. Alessandro Michele (Gucci’s creative director) does this routinely with his fantastical collections of embroidered, cascading, remarkably escapist patterns and silhouettes, but on top of that, there was a blatant political message on display, responding to the recent abortion regressions in the United States. In a series of 12 Instagram photos accompanied by explanatory captions, the house of Gucci explained details from the collection.
A boucle cardigan jacket.
A “draped and folded gown,” mimicking ancient wears from Rome.
Gold-plated jewelry boasting the face of Hercules, the semi-God of heroism, styled over a beige turtleneck.
A creamsicle-color pleated gown with a uterus embroidered onto the abdominal region of the dress.
A purple blazer with the famous feminist expression, “My body, my choice,” emblazoned on the backside.
A black shrug-cape hybrid styled over a paisley suit with the date 22.05.1978 embroidered across the front to represent the establishment of statute 194; “for the social protection of motherhood and the voluntary interruption of pregnancy.”
The latter three pieces maintained the same impetus across their captions — a reflection of Michele’s “continuing vision of freedom, equality and self-expression,” with a call-to-action to learn more about Chime for Change, the initiative that Gucci, with Salma Hayek and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter set in motion in 2013 to advocate for gender equality.
It takes months for these collections to come to fruition, there’s no way Michele could have predicted the grisly bills that would pass stateside when he set out to iterate on the kooky-but-fabulous aunt aesthetic he has nailed, over and over, since taking the throne in 2015 but there’s a lesson to be learned from the way he mobilized, integrating apparent talismans of support in the embroidered uterus, blazer phrase, and date cape that made it onto the runway.
The way he used the recent abuse of reproductive rights stateside to exemplify the power of a large social reach, pinching a sort of two-for-one lesson in activism for the uninitiated public gaze and similar holders of powerfully sizable audiences is impressive. Because here he could have neglected to reference the most recent onslaught of Trumpian turmoil — God knows said onslaught is persistent — relegating the turbulence to an obliquity away from his own in the name of escapism and the pursuit of joy as a coping mechanism — but guess what? He honored that too. No one could wear those white plastic, winged frames with yellow lenses or an orange, wide-brim hat paired with bright purple corduroy trousers if they didn’t pursue joy in fashion, but the thing of it is, one doesn’t have to negate the other. They can even, dare I say, live harmoniously side by side.
They say if you can’t beat them, you’re best off joining them, and I think this is true, but once you join them and you’ve climbed the ranks — once you’ve proven yourself and earned their trust, you get to do whatever the hell you want. Send a T-shirt supporting your cause down the runway, use social media to promote said cause, refuse to stand for bullshit policies and in the next breath, feel no remorse about the dancing Mickey Mouse on your sweater, paired with printed velvet pants and socks with sandals. They don’t have to represent anything other than glee.
Slideshow photos via Vogue Runway; Feature photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto via Getty Images.