The sudden onslaught of the coronavirus on social gathering means the fashion industry had to redraw its plans earlier this year on how it will approach the Fashion Week calendar.
While some brands charge on with showcasing the typical runway show – albeit with stricter crowd control measures – there are others who took the disruption as a way to reevaluate how collections are presented to an audience. Exhibit A: Burberry, Celine, Moschino.
As a result, many fashion houses now can rival Hollywood production houses with their digital film presentations while creative directors are taking on the role of entertainment whizzes more and more.
Alessandro Michele and his team at Gucci fall under another camp by totally rewriting the seasonal calendar and announcing that the brand will scrap its usual five annual runway extravaganzas for its collections for 2021 and beyond; it will no longer showcase transeasonal Cruise and Pre-Fall collections and will turn all of its collections as co-ed outings.
In between takes for filming of the second episode of Ouverture of Something That Never Ended, with models dressed in looks from the Spring/Summer 2021 collection.
It’s a seismic shift for a brand known for regular merchandise drops, capsule launches and an expansive repertoire of products (not much details have been revealed on how the maison will approach its schedule for drops).
With Gucci playing by its own rules and rebooting the seasonal calendar, Michele has unveiled the Guccifest that runs from Nov 16 to Nov 22. It’s his answer to a digital film festival (how current is that?) that also doubles up as the perfect avenue for a parade of Gucci ready-to-wear, accessories and everything in between.
Alessandro Michele (left) and Gus Van Sant co-directed the seven-part film that anchored Guccifest.
An article in The Guardian quoted Michele as saying that this format allows him “to set clothes free”. He added: “I don’t want fashion to be imprisoned in shops any more.”
Headlining this digital festival is the seven-part masterpiece Ouverture of Something That Never Ended that Michele co-directed with American filmmaker Gus Van Sant who’s known for movies like My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Good Will Hunting (1997).
Italian actress Silvia Calderoni is the lead in this Gucci film. She recently played a role in Jonathan Nossiter’s The Last Words which premiered at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival and the Deauville Film Festival.
The series stars the enigmatic Italian actress/DJ Silvia Calderoni running her daily errands around Rome. Each episode sees Calderoni in a spot like the cafe, the post office and the vintage store as she encounters a motley crew of characters along the way (stars like Harry Styles, Florence Welch and Billie Eilish are also reported to make cameos in later episodes).
Episode 2, titled ‘At The Cafe’, for instance, sees Calderoni getting her morning cuppa in a quaint cafe that is filled with a party of dancers, two naked patrons and a portrait artist among others.
All the characters are dressed in the brand’s latest Spring/Summer 2021 collection. If the effect is like watching a hybrid between a QVC-meets-soap opera, you’re probably not wrong.
An episode will be screened each day on YouTube, Weibo and www.guccifest.com, gradually revealing the new collection day by day. On top of Van Sant’s work, the Guccifest website will also spotlight fashion films by 15 emerging designers to underscore the brand’s commitment to support independent designers.
Now to the main question: will you be tuning in? In the meantime, we share some snapshots from the making of the first two episodes of the Gucci film below.