It's probably fair to say that 2020 has been a tough year for most of us. It's been filled with worry, uncertainty, and changes to the fundamental routines that we've built for ourselves. Your whole life might have been thrown upside down. You may have been ill, or worried about your own health and that of your family.
Gucci Spring Summer 2020 Milan
And even fashion icon Alessandro Michele announced this May 2020 that Gucci would be rethinking its approach to the fashion calendar, cutting back from five shows a year to two. The Covid-19 crisis had ravaged the industry, and many designers were already talking about ditching the traditional schedule.
But Michele was taking Gucci a step further: He would eliminate not only the distinction between men's wear and women's wear — something he'd been doing pretty much from the moment he took the reins at the Italian fashion house — but also do away with the idea of "spring" and "fall" collections altogether. Hmmmm.. Do you think Gucci traditional runway show a better idea?
And you know, the new Gucci system was born, beginning and ending with "Epilogue," the collection which would have been Resort 2021. "Epilogue" wrapped up Michele's three-part attempt at turning fashion inside-out, showing the behind-the-scenes parts of the process that are normally hidden from public view — a fitting finale to Gucci's commitment to the calendar. It was also an open door for Michele to start something different.
GUCCI Resort 2021
The first full collection created in this new system, titled "Ouverture of Something That Never Ended," was presented in a seven episode mini-series directed by Gus Van Sant, unveiled daily over the course of a week. "Ouverture" follows Italian actor, artist and performer Silvia Calderoni throughout the course of a day — though, not necessarily the same day, as Michele cautions: "The plot is just an accident that breaks the linear and progressive character of time."
With her frosty white hair, Roman profile, lean, muscular body and unnerving gaze, Silvia Calderoni is an arresting, jolie laide muse. All of which makes her an ideal protagonist for thethe atmospheric, rambling film that Gucci presented in lieu of a traditional runway show this season.
The production value alone is awe-inspiring — and it does lead one to wonder just how much money Gucci was spending on fashion shows if this is the budget they have for presenting a collection without them. Though the spaced-out episodes could be a bit frustrating (they made coverage slightly challenging, at the very least), it was nice to be able to explore them at my own pace. And while it's true that it's harder to get a real feel for the clothes in this format, with a brand like Gucci that's reliably similar from season-to-season, I didn't feel like I was missing out on that real-life, up-close encounter with the clothes in the same way I might with other brands. It was an interesting way to give the clothes their own lives.