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In 1991, Gucci presented the Gucci Bamboo 1947, a bamboo-handle tote in homage to Guccio Gucci’s use of the lightweight, natural material after the war, when traditional Florentine artisanal materials were scarce. In the decades to come, the purse became a fixture among Hollywood starlets and elite jet-setters, ensuring the style’s status as an international icon of innovation.
Current Creative Director Alessandro Michele reflects and reimagines this era in the Gucci Diana, a contemporary iteration of the Gucci Bamboo 1947 presented in various sizes and vibrant palettes. It’s distinguished by removable, neon leather and web straps, a nod to the functional bands which maintained the handle-shape of the original 1947.
The design links and reflects past, present, and future–even its silhouette echoes a time in which practicality took primacy in haute couture–but the line maintains a timeless appeal. It embodies not only an aesthetic but an attitude, affirming and forging the vast influence that a person (or a persona) may have across decades and cultures. It well represents the house’s fluid and free notion of style in constant and enduring evolution, simultaneously fitting an era’s conventions of sophistication and reinventing them.
Michele’s newest reflection of this heritage reflects his own legacy within Gucci, and appears in an unexpected range of videos, abstract photographs, illustrations, cartoons, and sculptures made with the curated collaboration of six artists asked to share their vision of the style, among them Cinthia Mulanga, Hailun Ma, Nicole Mclaughlin, Lorenzo Vitturi, and Masayoshi Matsumoto. Mulanga is known for mixed-media works interrogating beauty standards and stereotypes through the lens of black female consciousness; Hailun Ma photographs the fashion of China’s ethnic and religious minorities; Mclaughlin emphasizes upcycled design and sustainable fashion; Vitturi is a former cinema set painter emphasizing site-specific interventions of photography and sculpture; and Matsumoto is known for his lifelike portrayals of animals using only balloons.
Past collaborations have seen the sleek Gucci silhouette transformed through the painterly, futuristic works of Yuko Higuchi, Ignasi Monreal, Unskilled Worker, and Trevor Andrew. The Gucci Diana, now part of the signature Gucci Beloved line, is the latest expression of Michele’s contemporary approach to archival elements.