It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Cruise fashion shows are as much about the spectacular, far-flung locations as they are the actual clothes – and after a two-year hiatus, this season saw designers go all out. Chanel held its Cruise 2023 show earlier this month on the shores of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, while last week saw Louis Vuitton fly the fashion set all the way to San Diego for a sun-soaked extravaganza against the backdrop of the brutalist architectural masterpiece that is the Salt Institute.
Hard acts to follow, but Gucci timing its ‘Cosmogonie’ show to perfectly line up with a lunar eclipse? That has to win the award for ‘most magical moment’ of the season.
The setting for Alessandro Michele’s astronomy-themed show was the 13th century, octagonal Castel del Monte in Italy’s Puglia region, which offered not only a striking, medieval backdrop to the collection but also the perfect vantage point from which guests including Lana Del Rey, Dakota Johnson and Jodie Turner-Smith could appreciate the rare, copper-red full moon and expanse of twinkling stars.
The otherworldly glow lent itself perfectly to the Michele’s latest collection, which was full of historical references (Elizabethan collars are back in a big way), glittering embellishments, opulent textures, graphic patterns and a big dose of the House’s signature, unabashed glamor – showcased by no fewer than 101 models.
But while the astronomy theme was alluded to throughout, from Gucci ‘adopting’ a star for each of its guests and projecting galaxies onto the fortress walls, to the final look being painstakingly embroidered with constellations, Alessandro Michele is never one to be too literal. The show notes, in fact, revealed a far more subtle inspiration for the collection: the German philosopher Walter Benjamin.
‘Such an extraordinary ability to illuminate connections, which would otherwise be invisible, makes Benjamin the paradigmatic figure of those thinking in constellations,’ writes Michele. ‘What can seem, at first sight, atomized and dispersed, like the stars in the sky, through Benjamin’s eyes becomes an assembly of complicity: a connective structure that lights up the darkness through the epiphany of a constellation.’
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