Five thoughts about Gucci Aria and the Gucci x Balenciaga collaboration
Enough about the gloom and doom already; at least that seemed to be the overarching sentiment for Gucci's latest collection, Gucci Aria. The fashion house's sophomore off-schedule output was shown in the form of a film co-directed by photographer and director Floria Sigismondi together with creative director Alessandro Michele.
The film opens with a male model (look 1) entering a club — 'Savoy Club' as a nod to London's Savoy Hotel where founder Guccio Gucci first worked as a bellhop — before making his way into a white room. It's here that the runway is revealed, flanked by walls of flashing cameras as all 94 looks of Gucci Aria walk down to the thumping beats of the soundtrack before reaching the innermost section of Savoy Club.
And like most clubs we've all been to, there comes a point in the night (or day) where one just yearns for a bit of fresh air. The end of the runway portion of the film continues with the reveal that the back of the club is a nature-filled wonderland. A pair of white peacocks and horses frolicking around the serenity and are then joined by the Gucci Aria gang. As they find some reprieve from the confines of the club, they begin floating slowly up towards the sky as the film ends.
Gucci Aria was a beautiful way of kickstarting Gucci's centenary.
2021 marks the 100th year since Gucci was first founded. And Gucci Aria provided Michele the opportunity to revisit some of the house's storied history. While he's known for reintroducing house icons and revitalising vintage pieces, Michele's approach this time around seemed more nuanced. There was the revival of former creative director Tom Ford's red velvet suiting of 1996 but reinterpreted with a more literal object of sexual desire, the horsebit harness—a recurring accessory of the collection. There were also nods to Michele's own time at the house such as the oversized lapel suitings that has become a signature element of Gucci's tailoring, as well as the more minimal approach that he employed for spring/summer 2020.
There's Tom Ford-sexy and then there's Alessandro Michele-sexy.
Ford's impact at Gucci was very much felt within the collection. His idea of sexiness may be overt at times, but they were rarely done in quite literal ways. Michele took sexy a step further by incorporating harnesses fitted with horsebit hardware. The harnesses used may be more equestrian-inspired than actual BDSM (Gucci Aria also referenced horse-riding elements) but when they're wrapped around the neck and shaped like corsetry, one can't help but make the connection.
At the same time, there's nothing absolutely vulgar about the harnesses. In fact, I find myself quite impressed at how Michele has made the horsebit a more prominent accessory. The iteration in look 89 is especially stunning. Never have I fancied wanting to be strapped in place, until now.
Yes, the Gucci x Balenciaga collaboration is indeed happening.
Do we call this 'Gucciaga'? Or is 'Balenciagucci' a bit of a mouthful? The rumoured collaboration between the two Kering-owned entities turned out to be true. It came across subtle at first with look 10 — a Gucci-fication of Demna Gvasalia's creation for Balenciaga's spring/summer 2017 collection. And then we saw a peek of a Balenciaga-laden Jackie bag in look 21. But it became incredibly clear in look 43's glittery look that consisted of Gvasalia's hourglass jacket that took on the form of Balenciaga's logo pattern but interspersed with Gucci. It's coming and it indeed is the biggest collaboration of 2021 yet. Balenciaga silhouettes and logos in a Gucci collection? No one saw this coming.
'Heart in my hands' is the new 'heart on my sleeves'.
There was no short of sparkles and sequins in Gucci Aria. And even then, they didn't distract from the rhinestone-covered minaudières shaped like an actual human heart. They were casually wrapped around the fingers of a number of the models, held like totems. They were anatomically correct, beautiful, and I want one.
I already do miss dancing in a club, and Gucci Aria made me yearn for it even more.
It's all thanks to the five songs that were the soundtrack to the runway portion of the film. It started with Lil Pump's ever so familiar 'Gucci Gang', before going into 'Green Gucci Suit' by Rick Ross and Future and continuing on with Bhad Bhabie's 'Gucci Flip Flops'. Then there was 'Gucci On My Bag' followed by 'Gucci Coochie'. Yes. They all had the house's name in them. And they were all bangers that added to the celebratory vibe of the entire collection.
Gucci Aria is a celebration of Gucci's stellar 100-year long presence in the luxury fashion industry. And when we can finally celebrate — anything and everything — with reckless abandon, this would be it.