Gucci suit by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey”
Gucci dress by Alessandro Michele in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Stanley Kubrick
Gucci look by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange”
Adidas x Gucci Costumes by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange”
Gucci coats and shoes by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange”
Gucci look and Gucci bag by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Shining”
Adidas x Gucci set by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Shining" movie
Adidas x Gucci dress by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Shining”
Gucci coat and jewelry by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut”
Adidas x Gucci costumes and bag by Alessandro Michele in Stanley Kubrick's "Shining”
Gucci's Exquisite campaign by Alessandro Michele. Photos by Mert & Marcus
In the manner of the great maestros of filmmaking, Alessandro Michele blurs the boundaries between fiction and reality in his collections for Gucci. Season after season, the clothes he designs blend post-modern references and quotations from history of art, and create a world populated by unique, baroque and whimsical characters, yet firmly rooted in our contemporary world. "When I was young, I didn't want to be a fashion designer, but a costume designer. I am still often asked if I am one or the other and I am still unable to answer. It is this ambiguity that fascinates me. My work is based on the idea of shutting the door on nothing", Alessandro Michele told Numéro in 2021.
After commissioning a series from Gus Van Sant in 2020 featuring Gucci muses such as pop stars Billie Eilish and Harry Styles, and celebrating Hollywood's golden age in a glitzy Los Angeles show in 2021, the ebullient creative director once again proved his passion for cinema with his campaign for the Exquisite collection, unveiled in February. Exploring the phantasmagorical power of fashion and the wonder of metamorphosis, the show took place in a mirrored set, that played on the notion of images (projected and reflected), while the collection, designed as a variation on costume – whether formal, streetwear or extravagant – also included a collaboration with the brand Adidas.
Today, Alessandro Michele is exploring the hybrid aesthetic of his Exquisite collection in a disturbing campaign in which his designs come to life in iconic films by American director Stanley Kubrick. "A philosophical filmmaker who, better than others, emanated the magic of that inextricable knot through which cinema exhales life and magnifies it. His experimental drive goes beyond any possible categorisation. Every film, in fact, digests the manifold souls where dystopia meets parody, drama becomes human comedy, horror looks like a psycho-philosophic treatise, the feeling of truth evolves into the uncanny. Kubrick was, in essence, a real sculptor of genres: the 'cross-genre' director, ahead of his time. His ability to build stories that exceed significance, crossing borders and setting labels on fire, has always been deeply inspiring to me", the creator explained in a press release.
Caught up in the horror of “The Shining” (1980)
The Overlook Hotel, the iconic location of The Shining (1980) and the backdrop to the gradual descent into madness of Jack Torrance, the writer looking for inspiration – played by the brilliant Jack Nicholson – becomes a setting through which Gucci clothes wander, subtly blending into the plot. The tight red dress with three stripes, a reinterpretation of an Adidas model worn by Madonna in New York in the 90s, echoes the lines of the mint green 70s bathroom. Everyone remembers the mythical scene in which little Danny rides his tricycle through the hotel until he comes face to face with two twin girls in sky blue dresses. Here, in the corridors with carpets of dark red and orange geometric patterns, a figure in a light brown suit with Gucci buckles and lace-up boots with Adidas emerald stripes pushes the child's tricycle. In another shot, a woman in a purple beret with stripes, oversized gold geometric earrings and a Gucci Attache bag in her hand, leans against the flowery wallpaper next to the twins, in an ominous portrait.
Mystery and opulence in “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999)
Surrounded by silhouettes wearing black capes and red, white, black and gold Venetian masks, a blonde-haired woman gives us a smouldering gaze. Dressed in a camel-coloured fur coat and layers of pearl necklaces covering her subtly revealing cleavage, her figure stands out in a dark scene that seems to evoke a ritual. We imagine her to be an alter ego of the Australian actress Nicole Kidman who starred in Stanley Kubrick's enigmatic Eyes Wide Shut (1999), in which she played opposite the famous Tom Cruise, her husband at the time. This mystical fable, in which dream and reality merge to the point of suffocation, inspired Gucci's creative director, Alessandro Michele, to create an outrageously glamourous outfit contrasting with the model's cold beauty.
Sheer madness in “Clockwork Orange” (1972)
Unquestionably Stanley Kubrick's most controversial film, Clockwork Orange caused a wave of indignation when it was released in 1972. As shocking as it is fascinating, the film, adapted from an Anthony Burgess novel published ten years earlier, showcases the scandal and horror of violence through the character of Alex, a psychopath who weaknesses are cured through a treatment that consists of forcing him to watch unbearable images on a loop. A gangster film mixed with a moral fable and a cutting criticism of society in the early 70s, the film has gone down in history for its harshness – it was immediately rated 18 and censored in some English cinemas – but also for its style. In fact, the filmmaker, a master in the art of setting the scene, created a unique world in each of his movies. That is why he has left an indelible mark on popular culture, even leading to a type of architecture or design "à la Kubrick". The style of the main character, elegant and androgynous, is an essential element of the film and is said to have inspired the singer David Bowie when he created his alter egos. It is therefore quite natural that Alessandro Michele drew on the scenes where Alex reaches the climax of dementia, wide-eyed but still impeccably dressed, in a white velvet suit, braces and bowler hat, as he takes his comrades on a one-way trip into the depths of madness...
Metaphysical journey in "2001: A Space Odyssey”
In the superb metaphysical science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpieces, astronauts embark on a journey to Jupiter in the spacecraft Discovery One, following a signal from a monolith that was discovered on the Moon. In the final part of the film, we follow the adventures of astronaut David Bowman "beyond the infinite". Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele replays this iconic scene by placing a female figure in a green tulle evening gown in the cold, futuristic white setting of the cult film. The journey beyond the infinite then becomes a journey to the end of the night. Alessandro Michele discussed this poetic encounter in a press release: "And the dreamiest evening dress dangled in soft tulle ruches bursts into the aseptic and dystopian space of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This situationist game mixes historical plans, references, experiences. The past explodes into the present. Everything can become anything, or something else. As in that famous scene of Kubrick’s masterpiece, where the bone turns into a spaceship. As in life.”
The video of the Gucci Exquisite campaign, in which Alessandro Michele sets his designs in Stanley Kubrick movies.