Gucci's FW18 show in Milan was one for the books. Alessandro Michele brought out all the stops, as the runway event was held in an operating room, thus highlighting models carrying everything from dragons to severed heads.
Now the question is — where exactly did all this spawn from?
It's been well documented that Alessandro Michele has a vast appreciation for history and art, some might even call it an obsession. As Gucci points out, the utilization of a dragon, or a mysterious creature, stems from the "Legend of the baby dragon in the jar," which details the story of an author who staged finding a small dragon in his Oxfordshire (England) garage.
This practice ultimately draws inspiration from cephalophores, referring to a saint who is depicted carrying its own head. When dealing with Christian art, Wikipedia points out, this generally notes that the individual had been martyred or beheaded. Tradition also insists that the severed head then points to the location in which to bury the saint.
Furthermore, there are numerous legends detailing such saints that were spotted holding their own head after being decapitated. According to Garage, Saint Denis is the most well-known cephalophore. Now in statue form, again, featuring head in-hand, this particular depiction is currently on display on the front portal of the Notre Dame de Paris.
As far as the "stage" for this week's riveting display from Gucci, Michele collaborated with a Rome-based factory, Makinarium, well known for creating bespoke special and visual effects, Vogue reports. In the past, they've worked with the likes of Ridley Scott, Vlad Marsavin, Danny Boyle, and Ben Stiller.
“Alessandro reached out to us unexpectedly—we didn’t know each other,” said Leonardo Cruciano, founder of Makinarium with Nicola Sganga and Angelo Poggi. “He had very precise ideas about what he wanted to achieve. It was a great collaboration; he’s a true artist, with a real passion, a fantasy so intense and inspiring it pushes you forward.”
Such attention to detail took the collective roughly six months to bring to life, as Makinarium made use of real head molds, 3D prints, and scans.
In reference to the FW18 showing, Gucci earlier took to Twitter to speak on the set, stating "The concept of the operating room reflects the work of a designer—the act of cutting, splicing and reconstructing materials and fabrics to create a new personality and identity with them."
As you can see, the inspiration and influence for Gucci's FW18 runway show in Milan date back centuries. It'd be fairly easy to suggest that Alessandro Michele was simply going for the undisputed wow factor with no underlying connections, but that's simply not the case. Upon further investigation, we now have more of an overall appreciation for what has gone into such a thought-provoking display.
For more surrounding Gucci's FW18 event at Milan Fashion Week, follow here.