Punk, religion and gothic influences come together as sequins, Catholic symbolism and heavy embellishments take to the runway—Gucci’s Cruise 2019 showcase at a necropolis in Arles explored creative director Alessandro Michele’s fascination with all things macabre.
Alessandro Michele is known for creating dazzling spectacles— remember last year’s Cruise show held at the lavish Renaissance Gallery at Pitti Palace in Florence? But how does one top such extravagance? By romancing death, as Michele did this season. So, in his own poetic style, he took over Alyscamps, an ancient Roman necropolis in the city of Arles in southern France. Over 400 guests were greeted by candles burning in iron candelabras that billowed smoke over the gothic setting (which also featured a medieval church), all enhanced by the accompanying strains of Claudio Monteverdi’s haunting soundtrack, ‘Vespers for the blessed virgins’. The models made their way around a roaring fire that split the runway into two.
The show location was a necropolis in Arles, France
Models walking in the final line-up
From rapper A$AP Rocky to actor Salma Hayek Pinault, star power was in full force at Gucci’s Cruise 2019 show. The icing on the cake? Elton John, who performed his hits to an enraptured audience at the after-party.
Salma Hayek Pinault and Valeria Golino
Michele sent out 114 looks for men and women. A good blend of streetwear styles—plaid skirts, floral shirts and tiger patterns—were mixed with macabre details: death masks that were given a Gucci spin and created out of nylon, and symbols from ancient graves like flames and flowers. A line-up of gowns, velvet dresses, richly embroidered sweeping capes, and sequinned mini dresses paired with bright velvet tights that were an ode to ’80s disco-punk, followed.
A model wearing Gucci’s version of a death mask
“The inspiration is an ossuary, the crypts of the cardinals, of the monks of the 15th century and the precious decorations. The idea is that everything that is linked to the afterlife is accompanied by something of maximum beauty,” said Michele when asked to describe the influences behind a dress with an embroidered ribcage. He also sent out elaborate headpieces that drew inspiration from Mary, Queen of Scots, velvet chokers, chains with chunky bejewelled crucifixes, veiled mourning style pillbox hats, and angular sunglasses that were either two-toned or embellished with crystals. The runway saw hats with glittered feathers—a tribute to the late milliner Frank Olive. References to the iconic Los Angeles hotel Chateau Marmont appeared on sweatshirts, T-shirts and coats by way of its Pan logo. The much-loved Gucci-SEGA shoe mash-up from two seasons ago made an updated appearance too, and passages about the afterlife by Italian poet Danté were embroidered onto clothes.
The dress with the embroidered ribcage
An elaborate headpiece
Michele referenced Chateau Marmont in the show
The updated Gucci X SEGA collaboration
Courtesy of Gucci by Dan Lecca, Kevin Tachman, Ronan Gallagher