"Only pagan antiquity aroused my desire, because it was the world before, because it was a world abolished." It is on this phrase of the archaeologist Paul Veyne that Alessandro Michele is rooted in the Gucci Cruise 2020 collection in Rome. The same phrase marks it on historical books - which became invitations to the parade - and engraves it on coins depicting the Capitoline she-wolf and minted specifically for the event (a clear reference to Augustus, the first Roman emperor, who was one of the first enthusiasts and collectors of numismatics).
"I wanted to pay tribute to Rome; the ancient world and antiquity always dialogue with me. For me, working is like being an archaeologist, it's like discovering. I was obsessed with archeology when I was little, " said Alessandro Michele after the show, where he made politically clear and radically progressive comments.
The guests of the parade waited for the night to make a solitary journey in the empty rooms of the Capitoline Roman Museums, to rediscover ancient emotions and to look for new ones.
With a small torch you could orient yourself in the dark rooms, where everyone could decide where to look. The sound of a siren broke the silence and marked the exit of models and models. " Sometimes a museum can be like a novel " is with this phrase and with his voice Luciano Emmer introduces to his movie Bella di Notte of 1997.
The collection shown to the press and guests continues in the story started by Michele in the previous seasons: a stratification of references to the past, romantic and unexpected, no longer "extravagant" because the empire is now built and because we all know how to read the vision of the creative Roman. For him, paganism corresponds to a form of freedom "Making fashion is not just throwing clothes but also messages of freedom. I have found freedom through fashion."
Starting from the theme of archeology and the fascination for the past, a series of references are linked to the looks such as ancient texts, eighteenth-century literature, the Disney world and collaborations with artists Livia Carpezano and mp5 who have already collaborated with Gucci . And then, the first look inspired by the iconic headdress Cher, designed by Bob Mackie for the 1986 Oscars; and a string of historical dates embroidered on clothes such as the year of the foundation of the Capitoline Museums written in Roman numerals, the year of the legalization of abortion in Italy (1978), the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989).
The whole idea revolved around the body like an architecture, like a temple. A lived body, rich in history, alive, dancing and thinking, full of signs and tattoos.
A celebration in honor of pagan Rome (a kind of bacchanal transported in the Berlin underground - this is how Michele describes it); to that Rome studied by Bachofen, before patriarchy prevaricated on matriarchy; to the Rome of Pierre Klossowski who in his "Dame Romane" speaks of certain blasphemous scenic ludi, and of certain women, ether-priestesses, austere matrons, always involved in erotic scandals but well aware of the concept of chastity and their body's properties. "Rome is dirty, like today's kids. Because life is dirty, and you don't have to get your hands dirty, " says Alessandro Michele, who still glorifies her by portraying her at the height of her zeitgeist, at the height of her magnificence and luxury that we find in the blaze of sumptuous fabrics: silks, brocades, jacquard, embroidery and prints.You should spend a whole day in the Gucci showroom to be able to study and then narrate the tailoring work behind every single garment.
At the end of the show, and after Alessandro Michele made his bow - welcomed by a standing ovation - the party took place in a Roman villa with a concert by the iconic Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac accompanied by the idol of millennials Harry Styles .
It was a magical night.
A sign that Rome is still alive and burning.