Double. This word has marked the life of Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci since 2015, in a drastic and permanent way. Thanks to a highly personal text distributed as a press release moments before the start of the presentation of the brand's spring 2023 ready-to-wear collection in Milan, we were able to learn details of the creative's life, not as information, but as a prologue of what was to come. Michele is the son of two mothers, as he describes himself. Twins. He has always addressed both of them as mothers, and all his life he has seen how this usually unique figure, for him, has been duplicated. This dual personality has always been associated with harmony, intimacy, and complementarity for him. Michele mentions his attraction to all things related to mirrored images. He already gave us a heads-up with that video of Rorschach tests he uploaded on Instagram days before the show, and associates it with his way of understanding ‘twin magic.’ They are two completely different but completely identical people.
This is the concept of Twinsburg, his duplicated fantasy come true. A large wall with photographs of the models present, taken by Mark Peckmezian, faced the audience, with the runway in between both. In a show where Alessandro intended to take the viewer on a journey through time, where references to different eras, cultures, and cultural icons were united under his already iconic baroque aesthetic, full of ornamentation, colour, and brightness, sixty-eight very different looks can be seen one after the other. The variety of styles is endless; tailored suits are followed by denim overalls and then a sparkling animal print dress. Asymmetrical black dresses with cutouts are opposed to colourful outfits alluding to Chinese qipaos, followed by biker and bomber jackets. The references are endless.
Another focus was the allusions to different pop culture icons that Alessandro wanted to incorporate into this collection. Gizmo, the popular furry creature of the '80s (known for its multiplying ability), was present in both bags and garments, with a maxi print on a blue dress. The slogan “Fuori!!!” could be seen in several of the garments, an allusion to the Italian LGBTQI+ flagship magazine of the '70s and '80s. The self-referential component was also present in various ways: a bag of equestrian aesthetics inspired by one already presented in 1981, the iconic teddy bear of the firm as a bedazzled bag, and perhaps the most obvious reference, G-string, visible in some of the looks recalling the remembered era of Tom Ford at the helm of the house.
Between one look and the next, a seemingly normal fashion show unfolds, until moments before it ends, the wall slowly rises and reveals a parallel room, exactly the same, where the attendees were now facing each other, and where there was no longer one catwalk but two. There were no longer individual models, but it was revealed there had always been two; twins, dressed exactly the same.
“We're totally – totally, Different – different, Identical twins,” these lines, taken from the song Identical Twins by none other than Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, recited by the ominous voice of British artist Marianne Faithfull, made sense, and the Twinsburg concept became completely clear. The final carousel of sixty-eight pairs of twins dressed and styled equally the same is an image that undoubtedly overwhelmed the spectators and, deservedly, will go down in history.