Even if you don’t like Gucci garments, there is no denying that Alessandro Michele is a creative genius. With its never ending new realities, Gucci manages to surprise us every season. And of course for the brand’s hundred years, Michele did not hold back his creativity to celebrate. Gucci Garden Archetypes is the product of this celebration. It is both an art experience to showcase Michele’s genius, and a place to be immersed by the Gucci-verse.
Gucci Garden, located in Florence, offers you an acid trip meets fashion feeling. At first, the place was made to celebrate the 90th year of the brand. However, for the 100th anniversary, Michele felt that it was necessary to renovate the space, which resulted in the Gucci Garden Archetypes exhibition.
As a Gucci lover myself, I was so excited to see this place last week in Florence. I haven’t even looked at the pictures before just to keep the excitement and it was definitely worth it. Michele describes this space as “a playground for emotions”. As you join him on this playground, you get a glimpse into his world. At first, you don’t understand what’s going on because it is so sudden. The stairs are filled with French words and mini poems that make you stop and appreciate. And then there is a metro with a mannequin wearing a full look from the collection the room refers to. That’s the thing, each one of the 15 rooms describes a collection that Michele did for Gucci and you are able to read about the collection and the thought process that went behind for the room.
As you go through the metro doors, you are met with a vast forest, an ode to the Gucci Gothic Cruise collection. At this point, I was still trying to understand where I was. It is a sudden shift from the beautiful Florence outside to the Gucci world. I am now in a forest-like corridor waiting to see what’s next. Contrary to the nature scene, I was met with a lot of screens playing the Gucci Beauty ads. All of the screens playing different sequences of the ad and you try to absorb all of them at the same time while appreciating the beauty.
Passing the screens, you move to a room with the best illusions. This is the Dionysus Dance room where there are so many mirrors that you take your steps carefully, trying not to hit your head somewhere. This one was a favorite of mine. Call me a narcissist but it was fun seeing myself everywhere while watching the Gucci ad on the same mirror. It felt as if I was in the shoot with everybody else.
Then you have the Tokyo Lights with the front of a truck full of lights and the ad playing on the screen. Around the room several Gucci pieces are displayed with neon lights, playing with your vision as they cannot be seen due to the light sometimes.
Following was the collection room. Butterflies, endless Gucci sneakers, clocks and wigs all on display. If you have a Gucci sneaker, have fun trying to see if there’s the exact match there.
After a full sensory overload, you keep moving to different floors, seeing the mural for the pret-a-porter collection and the Gucci Dans Les Rues graffiti on the way. This room is now a renaissance meets Gucci room. It’s a massive painting with allusions to Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Wedding, baby angels, Gucci models and random images that make you think if it really belongs there, but isn’t it an idea Michele likes to play with anyways? Making the viewer think twice while looking at something.
Up next is the second personal favorite of mine. The “of course a horse” corner. Something about the pink and the Gucci Orgasmique bag does it for me. But this one’s a small one so we’ll move to the next destination quickly: The Soul Scene. Here you get to join a soul party with Gucci models and to be honest, I am not complaining. I did not even realize there was another segment until the bodyguard checked if there was anyone behind the glittery curtain.
After smelling the Bloom perfume while passing by the garden, you arrive in the room with Gucci pieces laying on top of dishes surrounded by CCTV cameras. Exactly, it seems as weird as it sounds, but you feel enthralled by the absurdity of it. Which is why you keep moving because this whole experience makes you crave more, ask yourself what’s next. Turning right you see the final room, the bathroom, looking straight out of a movie scene as a mannequin couple looks like they’re running. Under the bright red door, you see two shoes, symbolizing a quick getaway. And of course, you take a mirror selfie to conclude your experience and take a proof for yourself, making sure that this was indeed real.
Now, you might say, she is definitely exaggerating. Maybe I am. But maybe you should go and see it for yourself. If you’re ever in Florence, I suggest you go and immerse yourself in Michele’s world as a change from all the incredible art you see around Florence. It won’t give you a calm break but it will definitely leave you feeling dizzy.