If there was a collection that had to appear as if it were a hallucination of religious dyes, it was the Gucci Cruise 2019, the new decline of an overwhelming universe in which the main leitmotiv is the intricate beauty linked to death. Keeping up with this season’s trend of presenting resort shows in France -Dior and Louis Vuitton each staged runways in Paris and the French Riviera- Gucci headed to Arles, France, for its Cruise 2019 collection last night.
Opting for yet another unconventional runway setting, the Italian fashion house staged its latest show at the Promenade Des Alyscamps in Arles—an ancient Roman cemetery that was lit up by candelabras and actual fire lining the runway. For the collection, creative director Alessandro Michele was “fascinated by the idea of death,”
The Gucci Cruise 2019 parade was held in the Alyscamps, Arles, in the south of France, where the star guests could wear style in the photocall. The Alyscamps is an ancient Roman cemetery, but it is not only a necropolis, but it was also a walk and later became the way in the year 1700. It is a hybrid place with many meanings. For that reason, the characters of the parade are imagined as a mixture of widows attending the graves, young ladies and children playing at being rock stars. It’s a place where the idea of death is fascinating.
The Gucci creative director chose the Alyscamps, a Roman necropolis in the southern French city of Arles, as the setting for his show, and took full advantage of the area’s epic history with a nighttime display that transcended space and time with a trove of references ancient and modern.
The models swept out thick and fast in outfits so intricate, the eye struggled to keep pace. Michele sent out a dizzying 114 looks for women and men, mixing brand signatures — think plaid skirts, floral silk prints and tiger patterns — with outfits designed for fantasy characters ranging from rock stars to 19th-century widows.
Clouds of smoke and rows of church candles bathed the open-air space in a Gothic ambience, enhanced by the haunting soundtrack of Claudio Monteverdi’s “Vespers for the Blessed Virgin.”
Shrouded in velvet dresses and richly embroidered capes, models wielding flower bouquets emerged from the fog, evoking spectral Madonnas in the purest Catholic tradition. A black moire cape swept dangerously close to the flames, while a black fur coat with leg-of-mutton sleeves had a Seventies Victoriana edge.
The eerily haunted runway setting served as the perfect backdrop for a collection filled with an abundance of cross necklaces and Victorian dresses. For the finale, a Gucci bride donning a white, high-collared Victorian gown and gothic cross walked dangerously close to the fire-lined runway whilst carrying a bouquet of pink peonies.
Alessandro Michele deserves the award for the most dazzling spectacle to date in a season thick with powerful imagery. He presented at Los Alyscamps de Arlés a new decline of his personal and hallucinogenic universe with 114 male and female looks walked in a Roman necropolis between rivers of fire that included a range of authentic Gucci pieces like an ornate velvet cape, neon lace tights, goth accents, and prints galore.
“The inspiration is an ossuary, the crypts of the cardinals, of the monks in the 15th century, and the precious decorations. This idea is that everything that is linked to the afterlife is accompanied by something of maximum beauty,” Michele wrote on Instagram.