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In Le Palace, an old theater in the Montmartre district of Paris, Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection paid tribute to the Italian theatrical visionaries Leo de Berardinis and Perla Peragallo. It was there, amid darkened rows of seating, that a dramatic stage was set for the collection, designed around the slew of contradictions and radical societal alternatives of Italian experimental theater.
For Leo and Perla, theater was an opportunity to display the horrors and joys of being; a simplified situation in which one could examine and experiment on the complexities of life. Their theory was that theater had the potential to impose feelings of nostalgia and create new thoughts around politics and ethics. The two artists brought these ideas to life through a series of delusional, fragmented plots, and insane visionary performances.
Not unlike Leo and Perla’s theater of contradictions, Gucci made the most of juxtaposing elements, calling on the help of things that might not usually belong. Frills and fringe, velvet and silk, plaid and stripes—a mish-mash of elements, which on their own might be considered familiar, came together order to create an exotic collection that heads the frontier of all things possible.
Throughout the presentation, we saw traditional codes of dress—such as separation by gender—put to the side, as male models sported pieces like flowery dresses and fuzzy sweaters. True to Gucci’s distinctive aesthetic, we saw layers upon layers of clashing colors, patterns, and textures—like a red printed skirt paired with a black suede jacket, yellow and blue patterned top, and red cheetah socks paired with sandals.
Finally, in a nod to the 1970s and 80s when Le Palace was known for being a hot Parisian nightclub, we saw the dispersion of details like wide legged hems, large framed glasses, and padded shoulders, giving us a hint of nostalgia for times we may not have experienced ourselves. These retro elements were seen accompanying looks like a white sailor collared dress with a fluffy feathered trail, and a blue skirt set that featured an embroidered anatomical heart and an emblazoned phrase in French.