#MFW: Gucci's Fall/Winter 18 Runway Report
24 February 2018

#MFW: Gucci’s Fall/Winter 18 Runway Report

Since he was appointed the head of the creative helm at Gucci, Alessandro Michele has always looked to the works of philosophers or social/cultural theorists for inspiration. For the Fall/Winter 2018 collection, he takes inspiration from Donna Haraway, particularly, her 1984 text entitled A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century. This is yet another of the works that I am somewhat familiar with, given my training in the field of the social sciences. Here, Haraway deals with the concept of identity politics, and calls for an elimination of the essentialist binary systems in place, which she views as problematic. As such, she discusses the blurring of boundaries between humans and animals, as well as animal-humans and machines. For Haraway, these boundaries should be collapsible, and fluid. The cyborg, then, is a concept she uses as a metaphor to illustrate how we can move beyond, and free ourselves from, the limitations that arise from traditional conceptions of gender, feminism, and politics.

The way in which Michele applies Haraway’s cyborgian concept through the FW18 collection, is evident in the ways in which that he draws from several cultures. In many ways, the collection he presented here is a social commentary on how we, as humans, today, construct our identities. We creatively pick and choose elements that we like, and incorporate them into our personal sartorial canvases, which then we declare as our “personal style”. Regardless whether we pick the more obviously “cultural” elements that Michele does, for example the burqa in red velvet, turban, Russian headscarves, chainmail reinvented as jewellery, anime characters, tartan, or the double-tiered headgear modelled after pagodas that we see here, the result is often the blurring of cultural dichotomies, an amalgamation of several different cultures that have been fused, into one look.

Gucci FW18

Gucci FW18 Show Space Operating Theatre
Gucci FW18

Michele also uses the setting, or, rather, the show set he had modelled as an operating theatre to further elucidate his metaphor of “reinventing identity(ies)”. This clinical environment with the bleeps of the heart rate monitor as part of the soundtrack, along with models who held their own severed heads which are clearly replicas of their very own faces, while others sported knitted balaclavas seem to suggest that they’ve undergone some sort of cosmetic surgery. Whether in the form of cultural (mis)appropriation, or the reinvention of oneself via surgical means, Michele, through this collection, demonstrates that identities are never fixed, but malleable, and even collapsible.


Images via Vogue Runway