As you may well have heard, 2021 marks Gucci's centenary, which creative director Alessandro Michele has made apparent through a series of celebrations. Rare vintage Gucci pieces have come back to life, a new Gucci pop-up store has appeared in Shoreditch, while Gucci Aria and Gucci Vault have both been introduced. That's not all, though, as Michele has also recently launched the official Gucci 100 collection, which, according to the press release, 'manifests a deep connection between two universal languages, the language of clothing as an expression of personal identity and the language of music that recalls a collective memory.'
It all begins with reflections on a number: 22,705. This is the extensive number of songs in which the word 'Gucci' appears among the lyrics from 1921 to date, according to Musixmatch, the Music Data Company that has collaborated with the house for this research.
Keen to not appear too nostalgic for the past and wanting to stay focused on the brand's future, Michele said in a statement:
'It isn't a revisionist attempt to rummage through the past: if anything, mine is a 'reverse' revisionism of the house's history, stitched back together by a piercing note, a melody, a refrain. Also because, if I were to depict Gucci, for me, it would be an eternal teenager who hangs out at places where music is heard and played.'
Each piece is connected to the centenary in one way or another with ready-to-wear pieces and accessories either featuring the Gucci 100 logo or adorned with verses from three songs chosen by Michele from among the countless tracks that mention the brand. The three songs whose lyrics are stamped on the pieces include The R by Eric B. & Rakim, The Cramps' You Got Good Taste and Amy Winehouse's iconic Fuck Me Pumps.
Accompanying the collection is a comedic - not to mention stylistic - parody of BBC's Top of the Pops, which sees genres Jazz, Psychedelic, Japanese Punk, Disco, Hip Hop and Afrobeat serve as the musical backdrops to a century-long journey in which a cast of characters moves through an evolution of sounds, harmonies, movements, tastes, and styles. Shot by Joshua Woods under the creative direction of Michele, the campaign channels a love for life itself, the beauty of dance and the thrill of performance.
'The centennial, for me, represents an opportunity to bear witness to Gucci's eternal vitality that year after year, is reborn, it renews itself, reestablishing an unusual relationship with contemporaneity as a boy, forever young, observing the world with a powerful vision. I recognised the manifestation of its youth in its having intercepted and traversed, for one hundred years now, popular culture in all its forms. Above all, in music: the only medium, aside from fashion, more reactive to the times that mutate and mark the new, the today, the now.'
Music and fashion have always been synonymous - with the two perpetually influencing each other over the years, from Jean Paul Gaultier's track How to Do That to David Bowie being referenced as a style icon by many (Yves Saint Laurent notoriously dressed the Thin White Duke - an influence that the house's ex creative director, Heidi Slimane has taken with him to Celine). For Gucci, to put music at the centre of Gucci 100, is the latest in a series of moves that show Michele's understanding of style beyond a clothing context. After all, if the creative director's assumption of Gucci being 'an eternal teenager who hangs out at places where music is heard and played' is correct, The Gucci 100 collection is about to be remembered for another 100 years, kept alive by the youths of today, tomorrow and beyond.