Gucci’s Retrospective Reels in the U.K.
Gucci‘s traveling retrospective “Gucci Cosmos” is open in 180 Studios at 180 The Strand in London from October 11–December 31, 2023. Previously presented in Shanghai, the exhibition brings together 102 years of the maison‘s fashion history, visually detailing the styles, creative directors, muses, materials, and more that have garnered the brand global acclaim since its founding in 1921.
“Gucci Cosmos,” Designed by Es Devlin
On view through December 31, the experiential presentation was conceived by the British artist Es Devlin and curated by the Italian fashion theorist and critic, Maria Luisa Frisa, guiding viewers from the house’s past and present into the future through an array of immersive rooms. Beginning with the house’s foundation, each portal reveals the brand’s Italian heritage in craftsmanship through vignettes of garments, accessories, footwear, collaboration, and even specially designed clothing for local legends like Sir Elton John.
Guccio Gucci Returns to London
The exhibition’s presence in London also returns the brand to a place personal of its founder, Guccio Gucci, who began his career in 1897 as a luggage porter and elevator operator at The Savoy hotel—just 500 meters away. It was here that Gucci encountered the lifestyle that globe trotters and esteemed locals embraced, moving through their journeys with high-quality luggage in tow. Absorbing this international lifestyle and the items, inspirational touchpoints, and cultural concerns it embodied, Gucci returned to his hometown of Florence, Italy to establish his own eponymous leather goods business and store on Via della Vigna Nuova.
Going Into Gucci’s Archive
Many unseen archival works and images from the brand’s early days are borrowed from its 15th-century creative hub, the Palazzo Settimanni in Florence, and on view, illustrating Gucci’s vision and the view of his sons, Aldo and Rodolfo. Through time and space, guests then venture into the creative process of its various creative directors—from Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele to its current conductor, Sabato De Sarno—and the styles, shapes, and silhouettes that made Gucci a household name.
As the brand’s history begins to encompass contemporary energy, the exhibition introduces the new items, categories, and concepts that grew into iconic and timeless brand staples—like expertly tailored garments, the “GG” monogram, “Horsebit” collections from the 1950s, bamboo handles, and more.
A Tour Throguh “Gucci Cosmos”
Throughout the show, visitors can expect to explore the lineage of the brand through artistic, monochromatic spaces in various materials. In “Archivo,” the archive-centric space, for example, a buzzing blue palette welcomes the mind to wonder, physically leading patrons down a sleek hall of lit-up amoirs of luggage curiosities. The glowing red “Cabinet of Wonders” presentation showcases wardrobes of garments and accessories special to the house, including ostrich feather fans, crystal-adorned handbags, and even Elton John’s shoes, sunglasses, and specially-monogrammed jacket.
Awash in white hues, “Eden” welcomes style patrons to an oasis of flora, fauna, and wildlife sculptures decorating the ceiling, fostering an inspirational space for pastel and floral-patterned garments on mannequins to shine. And in rooms like “Ancora,” “Zoetrope,” and “Carousel,” dark, mysterious space await, filled with sequins-adorned clothing, horsebit halter vests, and sweeping gowns galore.