After announcing last May that Gucci would have left the traditional fashion calendar in favor of special stand-alone presentations, Alessandro Michele and his "orchestra" finally returned to center stage with GucciFest. A digital fashion film festival (held simultaneously across the various social media platforms of the brand) aimed to reveal the latest proposal from the fashion house that took the form of a seven-parts series dubbed, in pure Michele’s fashion, Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended.
Borrowing from the tv series format (and in the same week the hit series The Crown debuted its 4th season), each day from 16 to 22 November a brand new episode premiered.
But there was even more to it. As a proper fashion film festival, alongside these short films and throughout the whole week, fifteen emerging designers were invited and given the freedom and the space to present their collections with their own visuals. A brilliant initiative giving huge exposure and recognition to young talents making their way in the industry, especially in troubling times like these.
I’m definitely going to look back on these talents in the near future!
For now I’d like to talk solely about the seven short films that made up the Ouverture.
The whole thing could be analysed in depth and dissected in every aspect of it because it has so many layers to it. But since I’m no Tim Blanks, Angelo Flaccavento or Pam Boy either, I’ve decided to take a more visual approach, focusing on some stills taken from the short films that particularly stood out and spoke to me while also leaving room for everyone to interpret them.
As Michele himself stated in his pretext:
”The film does not want to assert. There is no proclamation. No declaration. But evocation instead. There is no such thing as an ultimate and final meaning, because that would end up in reducing the sensible to the intelligible.“ Alessandro Michele
The series was conceived together with cult director Gus Van Sant, another perfect addition to the ever evolving and expanding Gucci “multiverse”.
The title alone is pretty evocative already: Ouverture of Something That Never Ended, the beginning of something that wasn’t finished. A new story that has already begun.
It began almost six years ago with Michele’s first (and quite revolutionary) runway show, and now it begins again. Personally, I see what Michele does as returning and sometimes adjusting the words of the same manifesto. His vision for Gucci is what I would call an open manifesto that’s being renewed every time.
Clothes as Costumes as Characters
Alessandro Michele at the end of each episode is credited also as costume designer. In my opinion this is quite relevant because yes, in the end this is a fashion film with the purpose of selling clothes, but it also seem to remind that, no matter if it’s fiction or real life, clothes play a fundamental role as actual characters, much like the other actors (people) in these films, and our relationship with them actively shapes our identities and narratives.
Film stills From left to right
1.One of the musicians (model Hugo Goldhoorn) looks in the mirror while dressing up and sees himself wearing the same red pussybow blouse he wore on the runway of Michele's first collection (FW15) (ep.5)
2. Silvia Calderoni strolling around the house in a pastel candy-colored dress and sequined cap from the new collection. (ep.1)
3. Silvia letting go a red chiffon flower print pleated dress from her balcony (ep.1)
A Leitmotif in Words
The seven episodes are full of interesting encounters, beautifully strange dialogues and extra-ordinary and small acts. But you may say almost nothing actually “happens”.
Throughout the whole series we notice the recurring presence of a flyer with some mysterious words on. It’s one of the elements that ties the “non-narration” together. At first it’s difficult to read all the words.Then towards the end of the last episode of the mini-series those words are revealed as Silvia picks up that same flyer from the ground: on the flyer there are some of the lyrics of Tuxedomoon’s song ‘In A Manner Of Speaking’.
“In a manner of speaking
I just want to say
That I could never forget the way
You told me everything
By saying nothing.”
That’s perfectly in line with what Michele stated in his pretext for the event that we referenced above.
Film stills From left to right
1. Silvia finds the flyer in the mail among some Gucci past show invites. (Ep.1)
2. The flyer on the wall of the café. (Ep.2)
3. The same words of the flyer are printed on the stamp used by Silvia at the post office. (Ep.3)
4. The flyer in the changing room of the theatre. (Ep.)
5. One of Silvia’s neighbours (painter Ariana Papademetropoulos) is using the flyer to clean her paintbrush. (Ep.5)
6. Silvia finds the flyer on the ground while walking home at night. (Ep.7)
Art imitates life. Life imitates art.
In Alessandro Michele’s world, art and life definitely intertwine and play with one another in an eternal dance.
At the end of the seventh episode, (A Nightly Walk) Silvia is seen walking away in a small street of Rome but after a while the camera turns to Silvia again as she suddenly stops and stares as a spotlight hits her figure. The camera then keeps pulling back and we can finally see that she’s standing on the stage of an empty theatre. An actual coup de théâtre à la Gucci, once again reminding us that everything we saw was yet a representation, an artifice.
Personally (I may have said already in the past!) I’m very fine with Michele’s representation of a weird, dreamy, joyous, poetic and mysterious reality and I believe our world can always use a little more of it!
1. Silvia standing on the stage of an empty theatre. (Ep.7)
"Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended" (2020), directed by Gus Van Sant and Alessandro Michele.
You can watch the full 7-episodes series on Gucci's Youtube channel at this link.
Discover more on the full project on the Gucci website here.
We do not own the rights to any of the pictures in the article. All the rights go to the authors of the pictures.
(© Courtesy Gucci)