Conceptually, Alessandro Michele's designs for Gucci bear more resemblance to collages than clothing. His collections borrow from a myriad of references: mythology, classical art, cinema, and culture. For Spring 2018, the Italian fashion house reintroduced its "GUCCY" print in the iconic SEGA font. More recently, Gucci's Fall 2018 collection featured tops blatantly printed with the logos of Paramount Pictures and The New York Yankees.
Regardless of all the appropriation, Michele's collections have constantly proven to be a visual delight that fascinates even the most jaded of fashion insiders. The effect that the designer has on the world has hardly changed since his debut in 2015. It all begs the question: is Michele a creative genius or merely a master of copying and pasting?
Together with the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, Gucci has made a new exhibition that just might answer that question. Titled "The Artist is Present" (which, by the way, is itself borrowed from the name of performance artist Marina Abramovic's 2010 exhibition), the collaborative project explores the long-standing history of appropriation in art, as well as the role of the artist in today's world.
Curated by Cattelan, who is famous for his provocative sculptures, the exhibition opens on October 1 in Shanghai — a location picked for its notoriety as the homeland of luxury counterfeit goods. As a preview, Gucci has posted a video shot by director Yuri Arkarani that follows Cattelan's trip to Shanghai and his work on the exhibition. Watch it, below.