Cyborgs Have Everything
What do you say when the most savvy social media brand actually loses its head?
What do you say when the most interesting items carried down a fashion runway are not the bags? Such is the case with the Gucci Fall/Winter 2018 show. As much as we focus upon handbags, top designer Alessandro Michele both drew us in and creeped us out as models carried replicas of their heads (which, it seems, were not, for better or worse, doubling as purses), snakes and dragons.
Inspired by “Cyborg Manifesto,” a 1984 essay by D.J. Harraway which rejected the concept of rigid boundaries, particularly those separating human from animal and human from machine, hence the “Cyborg” which titled the show. Michele’s creations did the same. Michele said (as quoted in vogue.com:
We are the Dr. Frankenstein of our lives. There’s a clinical clarity about what I am doing. I was thinking of a space that represents the creative act. I wanted to represent the lab I have in my head. It’s physical work, like a surgeon’s. . . . We exist to reproduce ourselves, but we have moved on. We are in a post-human era, for sure; it is under way.
In a sense, Gucci created a Frankenstein collection – or some from column A and some from column B – mixing and matching styles, looks and cultures, with a somewhat dystopian scene featuring all-gender models walking in a trance-like state, some carrying heads, some with head coverings like babushka scarves, some covering faces with knitted half-balaclavas and others with burka-like lace. Part seen, part unseen.
Some looks just defy description.
There were feather-adorned gowns, alongside items with baseball team insignia, tweeds, florals, lace, transparency, velvet, business suits (with skirts and slacks), power, Alexa Carrington shoulders (that’s from “Dynasty” for the youngsters), futuristic sunglasses, sparkles . . . all almost too much to mention. Perhaps this was Michele’s way of saying “anything goes” – for clothing and for who you are or want to be.
The most controversial seems to be the turbans . . . resting atop white faces rather than any of color. For this, criticism of cultural appropriation has been the strongest.
Remarkably, with this jarring presentation, the handbags were . . . unremarkable. We mean that in a lovely way. They are classic, pretty and useable. Classicists will find the Gucci logo and the striped webbing, as well as ladylike purses.
We spied a bucket hobo with an extremely long strap,
suede tote with leather and chain handle (also seen in leather),
classic leather cross bodies with detailing,
crossbody half-circles with various fabrications and adornments,
a basketball-like bag,
and a cross-body basket.
So…did Gucci go a little too far this time? Is the new collection a cry for attention, or a work of avant-garde, forward-thinking art? Were there any looks you especially liked (or hated)? Tell us what you think about the presentation—and don’t forget to mention the bags!
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Updated: February 28th, 2018