Gucci models are freaking everyone out by walking the runway holding their own decapitated heads
After being relegated to the back of wardrobes since the mid-Noughties, the house of Gucci has made a comeback under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele. The astounding overhaul of the Italian luxury mega-brand has proven to be quite the case study for fashion in the digital age.
Four years ago, Gucci swapped out sex, glamour and decadence to champion an ethos of eclectic intellectualism. And so avant-garde is Michele's work that this year models walked down the runway in seemingly Biblical paraphernalia; one grew a pair of horns, another turned into a cyclops, some held baby dragons in their arms, and two carried life-sized replicas of their own heads.
While some may be forgiven for thinking that Michele thinks decapitation is so in this season, it appears that his inspiration is derived from more meaningful, albeit esoteric, sources. Certainly, his post-show press conference was more reminiscent of a lecture in literary theory. Practically talking in Foucauldian terms - Michele referred to "hybridisation", "post-humanism" and "the ultra natural" - while explaining that the collection, aptly named "Cyborg", is about "the relationship between being and becoming".
Though one would think this would alienate the common fashionista, in terms of commercial success, Gucci cannot be rivalled.
A spectacle to behold; the set was designed to look like an operating theatre, replete with PVC-coated floors and walls which were painted in the waiting-room shades of blue and green. The surgical beds were real and had circular operating lights hanging over them ominously.
However, it was not the set that was most memorable, nor the handbags or shoes. It was, of course, the severed heads and baby dragons.
In her Instagram video, Stella Bugbee seems to be incredibly relaxed, considering that the hatchling, a mere few yards from her, looks so realistic. In fact, audience members were so taken by the dragons that Gucci had to confirm that they were, indeed, fakes.
But despite there being a coterie of other oddities, including an iguana and a snake, it was the human heads that took the cake. Aside from being perfect replicas of the models, the heads took Michele's surreal dreamscape from fashion show to horror show for some viewers.
According to Vogue, the heads were created in a partnership between Michele and Rome-based visual and special effects developer, Makinarium. The company was also responsible for the horns and third eyes that several models sported, as well as their cold-blooded pets. It reportedly took over six months to create the pieces, with Makinarium working with an array of mediums, including moulds of the actual models' heads to 3D prints and scans.
And sure, the clothes were what one would expect from Alessandro Michele's Gucci. Gender norms were challenged, and his trademark jumble of "dressing-up box" finds was championed as heavily as ever. Tweed skirt suits were paired with knitted balaclavas, and Vetements' "dry cleaner chic" lived on in pillar hats that were adorned with commercial logos.
It seems that for Fall/Winter 2018, we should all be letting our freak flag fly...