Gucci. The luxury fashion house’s name conjures up images of vibrancy, extravagance, experimentation, and offbeat flair. Indeed, the brand is known for its ways of uprooting social norms and weaving together various time periods to create a captivating and instantly recognizable aesthetic. In stylist Kate Young’s words, Gucci is “a world you enter into.” On the latest episode of Hello Fashion, Young’s YouTube show created with The Slowdown, she investigates how this “world” came to be by illuminating the house’s central codes and probing the minds of its creators.
After describing Gucci’s 20th-century history—which began in Italy with Guccio Gucci in 1921, and that was revived by Tom Ford in the 1990s—Young delves into the influence of Alessandro Michele, who serves as Gucci’s creative director to this day. To Young, Michele’s arrival was nothing short of revolutionary for the brand: His designs questioned and undermined traditional ideas of beauty, gender, and aesthetic cohesion in ways that were eccentric and provocative, yet still digestible. “It looked like a bunch of cool kids wearing their grandmothers’ couture to a fun rave, instead of a bunch of swan-like models in a restrained fashion show setting,” Young says.
Unique to Michele is his way of synthesizing various time periods—most notably ancient Rome, ’60s Gucci, and the modern day—and interpreting the house’s codes through that temporal lens. As Young goes on to describe, the codes are as recognizable as ever. The first code she highlights is the “Flora” print, originally commissioned in 1966 for a scarf for Princess Grace of Monaco. As Young explains, instead of a typical repeating pattern of flowers, the print depicts four distinct bouquets, each representing a season of the year. The print—which Young describes as “captivating” due to its use of 37 different colors—is available in myriad forms, including wallpaper, clothing, and even porcelain tableware.
The next code is the “GG” logo, created by Gucci’s eldest son, Aldo, to symbolize his father’s name. The logo, which became very successful in the 1960s, continues to be a central motif in Gucci designs today. Young then turns to the third central code, the red and green stripe, which is most commonly depicted on cotton grosgrain. The final code Young touches on is the horsebit, a simple metal piece composed of two rings attached by a bar, which is placed on many of Gucci’s handbags and loafers. Horsebits became a symbol of luxury in the ’70s and were soon adorning celebrities and wealthy people worldwide. Says Young: “They became an absolutely identifiable symbol of status and good taste.”
Finally, Young describes two of Gucci’s recent projects: the Gucci Garden and the Gucci Vault. Created by Michele, the Gucci Garden is a museum-store in Florence’s Palazzo della Mercanzia that creates a dialogue between the past and present of the brand. The building houses archival gowns, scarves, stationery, and vintage and contemporary jewelry and luggage, as well as art installations by young contemporary artists that relate to the brand. The Gucci Vault, meanwhile, is an internet manifestation of the Gucci Garden—an experimental online space where browsers can buy vintage Gucci pieces and also learn about the work of up-and-coming designers.
Ultimately, for Young, Gucci is the brand it is today because it avoids pretense and is unabashedly itself. “I love Gucci because the tone of Gucci is loving fashion,” she says. “What you see with Alessandro is: Embrace beauty in all different forms. Make it fun. Sparkle. Wear stuff you love. And make it your own.” That spirit, Young thinks, is what will keep Gucci forever young. “This is who they are, this is the future. Forget everything that came before.”
Watch new and previous episodes of Kate Young’s YouTube show Hello Fashion at youtube.com/kateyoung.
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The first Monday in May is synonymous with the Met Gala, a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume InstitutVogue. “Designers live for it.” This year, the affair hasn’t happened yet—it may happen this fall—but to mark the annual occathe eighth episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown.
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In 1617, German artist Jobst Harrich completed an oil painting on a copper canvas. The work, which depicts a flaxen-hairposted Harrich’s painting to her feed and tweeted, “maybe if I take my tit out they will stop explaining my own joke back to me.” She applied this tactic to“Conversation in a Park,” depicting a gent gesturing toward a stoic lady (“you would be so much prettier if you smiled”), and a 1959 Norman Rockwell cover for the Saturday Evening Post, which portrays eleven men ganging up on a lone woman in a jury room (“thanks I’m gay now”). The thread went viral. A fMen to Avoid in Art and Life (Chronicle Books), sold out within days of its release. It features more than 90 artworks accompanied by wince-worthy c
An art critic, curator, and author, Antwaun Sargent has become a leading voice for a rising class of Black contemporary The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion (Aperture), Sargent is serving up his next, as the editor of Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists (D.A.P.), highlighting the works of Black artists from the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art. An exhibition of the same name is currently on view at the Lehmann College Art Gallery (which is temporarily closed due to Covid-19)
New York–based artists and brothers Steven and William Ladd have been creating together for 20 years, using their comple“The Other Side,” on view through Oct. 17 at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood, the Ladds have welcomed. Offering visceral and emotional depth to a population of society so often silenced and anonymized behind closed doors, t
Election season is upon us here in the U.S., and with all of the anxieties circulating around—pandemic-related risks, poThis is What Democracy Looked Like: A Visual History of the Printed Ballot (Princeton Architectural Press), a new book by Alicia Yin Cheng, a founding partner of the Brooklyn-based graphic design
Brooklyn-based writer and artist Edith Zimmerman served as the founding editor of The Hairpin—the former general-interest women’s website that defined a generation of online journalism, with pieces like the perenn“Women Laughing Alone With Salad”—and has gone on to contribute to outlets including The New York Times Magazine, The Cut, and the podcast This American Life. These days, you can find her work in Drawing Links, a frequently published newsletter of comics and musings. We recently polled Zimmerman about her current media diet. He
You are what you Google and “like.” This is an eerie truism of 21st-century life, where our experience of reality is larThe Social Dilemma, a new docu-drama premiering on Sept. 9 on Netflix, delves into the dangerous human impact that social networking has oCenter for Humane Technology (and our guest on Ep. 35 of At a Distance), says in the trailer: “If technology creates mass chaos, loneliness, polarization, more election hacking, [and] more i
Our summer quarantine days have far too often been spent gazing at web browser windows—far and away from vacation views,Window Swap, a mash-up of the virtual and physical. Designed as a “quarantine project” by creatives Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Bala
For the past five years, as one of the co-founders of the annual “JONALDDUDD” exhibition, designer Lydia Cambron has put on one of the most consistently surprising and challenging presentations of
School’s out forever—or at least for the immediate future, depending on what city you live in—and it’s certainly taking hands-on lesson plans, open-sourced and free to download, that are inspired by artists and objects from its permanent collection. “Fashioning
There’s a formula for homicide news stories: Place a TV anchor at the scene of a crime, and state that a victim was shotfatally shot in the U.S., including suicides and accidents. The sheer volume of incidents makes them easy to tune out: We don’t know
Five months on, living in a pandemic has become a new liminal normal, shifting our gaze toward the familiar sights, soun“Pandemic Objects,” an ongoing editorial project that highlights and reflects upon everyday objects (defined in the broadest sense) that hathe gaze of the drone, which has seen a surge in use worldwide in recent months, with people dispatching them in their hometowns—even to takejump rope that gives her pause as she riffles through the museum’s archives, uncovering photos, artworks, and accounts about the
The Internet Archive is one rabbit hole we’ve willingly jumped into more than a handful of times since the quarantine beWhole Earth Catalog, the 1960s counterculture print publication often referred to as “the web before the web existed”—its iconic, jam-packeElectric Whole Earth Catalog, now available on the site. Originally launched in 1998 on CD-ROM (how quaint!), the lo-fi “electric” edition offers a
Home is where the heart is—but, on the silver screen, it can be a bit forlorn. In his recently published broadside publiSad People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films, Los Angeles–based designer and art director Benjamin Critton explores the much-maligned trope of the Modernist home in popular culture, with contributing essays from writers Erik BSad People—the long-awaited follow-up to his 2010 edition, Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films—and what filmic mood may strike him next for volume three of the ongoing project.
Geographer and environmental anthropologist Gina Rae La Cerva spent three years journeying around the world in search of undomesticated food for her new book, Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food (Greystone Books). We recently caught up with La Cerva, currently stationed in Santa Fe, to ask about her media diet. (Ep. 39 of At a Distance.)
For more than 25 years, Paola Antonelli, the director of R&D and senior curator of design and architecture at New York’sDesign Emergency, Antonelli has teamed with renowned London-based design critic Alice Rawsthorn to explore the role design has played—anEp. 25 of our At a Distance podcast.)
States across the U.S. may be entering Phase 2 of post-lockdown reopenings, but short of a vaccine, public health expertQuarantine Coloring Book, uploading a new free, downloadable image by a different illustrator each day. The project exploded overnight, with thoAccording to research, coloring can have a similar effect on our minds as meditation, helping to ease anxiety, fears, and restless thoughts—i
As museums around the world (or, most of them, anyway) remain closed, and a once-global calendar of openings and festiva@covidartmuseum—started on Instagram by three Barcelona-based art directors, Emma Calvo, Irene Llorca, and Jose Guerrero—has become som
For the better part of the past decade, Cindy Trinh has been documenting social justice movements around New York City with her ongoing Activist NYC project. Here, Trinh, a photographer with a background in law, shares her observations on the current Black Lives Matte
Melbourne-based Kai Brach, a former web designer and the publisher/editor of Offscreen, an independent print magazine about technology, and Dense Discovery, a weekly newsletter about productivity and inspiration, shares his current media diet with us—and why he firmly believ