GUCCI GARDEN OPENS A NEW EXHIBITION IN FLORENCE
Coinciding with Pitti Uomo 95, Gucci Garden, which is housed in the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria, Gucci opened a new exhibition in the Period Rooms and unveiled new wall paintings in its Gucci Garden Galleria.
Gucci Garden was conceived by Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele and features exhibition spaces curated by critic and curator Maria Luisa Frisa. The Period Rooms in the Gucci Garden Galleria, which opened in June earlier this year with a tribute to Björk and the House’s collaboration with her, will host the new exhibition which is curated by Frisa to demonstrate how Gucci has interpreted and defined men’s fashion over the years. It takes a deep dive into the subject, making use of the Gucci archives, as well as presenting a close study of a red silk shirt with a bow tied at the neck that Michele included in his first men’s show (for autumn/winter 2015). The shirt was a poetic gesture that in its vivid simplicity spoke of clothing the contemporary body and demonstrated that men’s fashion is a field with great unexplored potential.
The reflections on masculinity in this exhibition trace the outline of the body. Gucci has been revisiting and refining its concept of masculinity since the 1960s, and its various creative directors, from the Tom Ford era to the present, have all expressed their own visions. The exhibition meditates on masculinity and maleness according to Gucci through a collection of clothing, objects, accessories, images, books, magazines and video documents. It maps a landscape that combines eccentricity and immediacy.
The selection of publications on sale in the ground floor boutique of Gucci Garden always strongly supports the items on display in the Period Rooms. This will be the case from January, when work by writers on fashion studies and high-profile fashion journalists will look at the idea of masculinity; their commentaries will be combined with an array of glossy magazines and alternative fanzines exploring the same concept and notions. Additionally, a wide range of books and magazines about Florence from the 1960s to the 1980s are on display and available for purchase.
At the same time as the opening of the new Period Rooms exhibition, fresh wall paintings were unveiled. These are by Italian artist MP5, known for an incisive black-and-white style and work that is both critically and politically engaged in looking at concepts of reality, and English artist Alex Merry, who depicts a dreamlike universe through illustrations and portraits that use colour in savvy and surprising ways.
MP5 has contributed two wall paintings for the first- and second-floor landings of the Gucci Garden Galleria. These will form a seamless single narrative about individuality and the depth of physical and emotional exchange. Alex Merry created a series of arched windows for the stairwells, which metaphorically open onto Piazza della Signoria and depict metaphysical landscapes where extraordinary alchemical transformations occur.
In the Cinema da Camera (small cinema auditorium), visitors can view Crollo nervoso [Nervous Breakdown] video in its entirety. This major work by theatre company Magazzini Criminali debuted in Florence in 1980. It consists of four scenes set in vastly different times and places that intersect to form what critics of the day deemed a “postmodern web.”
The look of the Gucci Garden boutique has been also refreshed for the New Year, with areas featuring soft-toned patterns, and micro-patterns inspired by printed fabrics used in Michele’s collections for Gucci. The idea is for the spaces and the furniture to “change skin“, much like a snake does, and they will now be covered with delicate florals, which will also feature on display elements.
Indeed, exclusivity is key to this special Gucci store, making it a destination for visitors to Florence. The exclusive shoes available here include the Ace and Rhyton sneakers, which come in pink with the black Eye and Stars motif printed on them. The Flashtrek trainers in brocade fabric, with rubber Gucci appliqué detail and detachable crystal-decorated elastic band are on sale here in special fabrics, as is a whole selection of the backless slip-on Princetown style, which the House has made famous.
The ready-to-wear has also been created exclusively for Gucci Garden and ranges from highly-patterned women’s cabans (in the House Flora print), brocade mini-dresses, long, patterned silk dresses and a duchesse kimono, to a whole variety of skirts, trousers and knits for women, all decorated in Gucci style. For men there are many exclusives, like an elegant blue wool felt coat with velvet collar, and two bombers enriched by floral embroidery. A selection of plaid shorts, trousers and shirts, some with embroidery (the shirts), introduce a vintage spirit, while knitwear is bold and impactful.
For Gucci Garden, special versions of the Dionysus handbag have also been developed and there are two new styles: one with the Eye and Stars design in three colours – white, pink and black– and another with a laurel crown motif and a pattern composed of bees, in pink, red and blue. As well as the handbags, there is also a sporty range of brightly patterned backpacks that combine practicality and style.
In keeping with the spirit of creative collaboration that Gucci Garden embraces, its restaurant – the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura – is helmed by internationally renowned chef Massimo Bottura, whose dishes explore the deep roots of the Italian kitchen while making references to history, art and philosophy. His famous three-Michelin star restaurant, Osteria Francescana, located in his hometown of Modena, was named number 1 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List in 2016 and 2018.