Back in May of this year, Alessandro Michele announced that Gucci would be scaling back its fashion shows, bringing the total from five down to just two. "We need new oxygen to allow this complex system to be reborn," he told Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times.
But first, Michele needed to tie up some loose ends. On Friday, he "presented" the "Epilogue" collection, wrapping up a three-part series which started with the magical, theatre-in-the-round style presentation of Fall 2020 and continued with its model-directed campaign "The Ritual" in May. "Epilogue," ostensibly a Resort 2021 collection, completes Michele's vision of turning fashion inside-out, of revealing the typically behind-the-scenes moving parts, by featuring his design team in the lookbook shot by Mark Peckmezian.
"The clothes will be worn by those who created them," Michele explains in the show notes. "The designers with whom, every day, I share the daze of creation, will become the performers of a new story. They will seize the poetry they contributed to mould. They will stage what we passionately imagined. It’s a process of role reversal, once more."
The collection itself is chock full of Michele-isms and Gucci-isms: a riot of pattern and color, horsebit buckled boots and bags, piles upon piles of jewelry. Each shot features a Post-It naming the designer and their job, like "Shane Wilson, women's ready-to-wear designer" or "Olivia Kodé, kid's wear designer." It notes their personal piercings, individual hairstyles and facial hair.
Fans of the brand were also invited to follow along with the "Epilogue" campaign photoshoot happening at Rome's Palazzo Sacchetti, lensed by photographer Alec Soth. (A secondary shoot is happening at Campo Boario, but will not be streamed.) The images won't debut until October, but Michele hopes that it will turn it into an "exhibition praxis," writing, "What happens to the relation between reality and fiction when prying eyes sneak into the mechanisms of the production of an image? What happens to fashion, and its seductive ability, when the true goes back to being just a moment of the false?"
If that wasn't immersive enough, Michele also curated a Spotify playlist for an "audio representation" of the "Epilogue" collection.
While "Epilogue" is meant to represent an ending, for Michele and for Gucci, it also marks a beginning of a new future for the Italian brand, in which it will take control of its fashion calendar and create a new cadence for collections while also further erasing the lines between menswear and womenswear.
"In this sense, the epilogue that I deliver to you today really feels like an overture," Michele writes. "A watershed that closes and opens at the same time, a threshold of a new beginning, from which we try to imagine our tomorrow."
See the complete Gucci Epilogue collection in the gallery below: