Gucci's Spring 2023 Collection Will Have You Seeing Double
The twin effect.
There always seems to be a sort of looming excitement in the weeks leading up to a Gucci show. Creative director Alessandro Michele has a way of creating a slow-building buzz and mystery around his collections each season. Last November, it involved his Los Angeles takeover of Hollywood Boulevard, aka Gucci’s Love Parade. In February, it surrounded the unveiling of the brand’s highly anticipated collab with Adidas (which included a front-row cameo of a pregnant Rihanna clad in a jeweled headdress and fur ensemble). And, for Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection dubbed “Twinsburg,” the brand teased a theme of duality and optical illusion in the days leading up to the Milan Fashion Week debut.
Imagery of duplicated models graced the brand’s Instagram account, creating conversation around what the audience was actually seeing: “The illusion begins and ends at the walls that surround us, and thus creates the necessity to look beyond,” read a caption to a video of a model speaking to a mirrored version of herself and duplicated into multiples. This interesting post raised the question of what exactly one would expect on the the September 23 presentation.
Well, in the initial moments of the show in question, the audience is seemingly watching a traditional, single-file procession, with models sauntering to a dramatic orchestra in deconstructed pant suits (complete with extreme garter-like cutouts, positioned to be the next viral street style trend), dangling, jeweled headgear, and glittering skirts and outerwear. A voice breaks the music, speaking in repetitious phrasing, setting the overall tone of parallel universes that are both similar and opposing. Suddenly, a partition is raised, revealing each seemingly singular model is actually one of two identical twins, walking side-by-side.
This “twinship” displayed was actually inspired by Michele’s own life. “I am a son of two mothers: mum Eralda and mum Giuliana,” says the designer in the official show notes, referring to his mother (the former) and her twin sister (the latter). “Two extraordinary women who made their twinship the ultimate seal of their existence. They lived in the same body. They dressed and combed their hair in the same way. They were magically mirrored. One multiplied the other. That was my world, perfectly double and doubled.”
Michele goes on to explain that the sisters’ bond and dynamic led to his “eternal fascination for the double, for the things that seem to reflect equal to themselves. Every single time, I catch an aura of beauty in such specular multiplication. It’s so familiar, and powerful.”
It also feels very in tune with the trend-driven cycle of fashion that is seemingly at a high at the moment. The rise of everything from cottagecore to Barbiecore is showing similar or identical themes through different lenses and experiences whether by the wearer or the brand/creator developing designs around it.
“Twinsburg plays this game, producing a tension in the relationship between original and copy,” explains the show notes. “As if by magic, clothes duplicate. They seem to lose their status of singularity. The effect is alienating and ambiguous. Almost a rift in the idea of identity, and then, the revelation: the same clothes emanate different qualities on seemingly identical bodies. Fashion, after all, lives on serial multiplications that don’t hamper the most genuine expression of every possible individuality.”
True to its theme, each colorful, print-mixed, and glimmering ensemble was duplicated, showing an identical look on a seemingly identical body. Hand in hand, individuals walked in Gucci’s refreshing and vibrant take on spring dressing, which included details inspired by Chinese (qipao-style dresses), Morrocan (beaded veils), and Native American (dangling headdresses) cultures.
Animal prints ran the gamut, splayed on everything from sheer hosiery and headbands to floor-length gowns. As mentioned before, suiting was reimagined in strategic cutout silhouettes, jewel sequins, and soft neutral pinstripes.
As always, the dramatic, whimsical gowns that have made Michele’s designs a staple on every red carpet in recent years will continue into 2023. Pleated maxi dresses with long bell sleeves (another trend seen at NYFW earlier this month), delicate silver drop-waist frocks, and leg-baring jersey dresses signaled another year and season of opulent dressing.
Below, check out the double-take runway for yourself.