Milan Fashion Week is normally Gucci's time to shine. The Florentine luxury label is headquartered a fair bit away from the fashion hub but it still comes out swinging and its bombastic, all-inclusive runway spectacles are often the one of the week's highlights.
Gucci is taking a different tact for Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024, though, in the name of something more meaningful, something personal.
2023 marks the 70th anniversary of the Gucci Horsebit Loafer, believe it or not. I know, I know, I also thought that Gucci's signature shoe had existed since the beginning of time — like, surely there was never a period of time where the Horsebit didn't exist — but somehow, Gucci's Horsebit Loafer has just become a septuagenarian.
Crazy to think that loafers peaked 70 years ago but it's the truth. No one has ever materially improved upon what Gucci family member Aldo Gucci — played by Al Pacino in House of Gucci, remember? — created back in 1953.
Anyways, Gucci is eschewing a typical runway show for its Horsebit Loafer celebration, dubbed the "Gucci Horsebeat Society." It's an immersive exhibition held within the Spazio Maiocchi art gallery for only three days, from June 16-18.
Spazio Maiocchi creative director Alessio Ascari helped curate Gucci's event, which encompasses a series of stylized spaces that each house Horsebit-inspired artworks.
For instance, Crosby Studios' Harry Nuriev devised furniture that plays fast and loose with Horsebit inspiration, sculptor Pitterpatter envisioned a table held aloft by a series of Horsebit-shod legs, and, in the screening room, artist Bolade Banjo's historical exploration of the Horsebit's legacy plays on a loop.
Throughout, Gucci gear is on full display. There's a bevy of new-season stuff from Gucci's Spring/Summer 2024 menswear collection — the recent MLB collaboration and exclusive Vault drops are separate endeavors — displayed alongside Horsebit Loafers from all eras.
Keen-eyed guests may spot a pair of decades-old Tom Ford Horsebit pumps, for instance, or a variety of classic bags fitted with their own Horsebit detail in homage to the original.
I noted when discussing Gucci's Fall/Winter 2023 collection that the Horsebit Loafer was key — the line was designed by Gucci's in-house menswear design team and I figured that they were returning to timeless house codes to reflect the in-between period that separated creative directors.
Gucci's new hire, Sabato De Sarno, will debut his vision for the house with Fall/Winter 2024 later this year. I expect several Horsebits to be in the mix.