Why Gucci sent 68 pairs of cufflinks to its Milan Fashion Week catwalk

During the first part, the twins had paraded separated by two different catwalks for two audiences that were unaware of the other’s existence – BROCHURE GUCCI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Before Alessandro Michele took the top job at Gucci in 2015, fashion designers spoke of individuality as they made the models on their catwalks clones of each other: the same height, the same makeup, the same wigs, the same line, same walk… It seemed like a strange strategy to spend tens of thousands on famous models and make them invisible. But what mattered was the hegemony of the brand.

Michele changed all that, selecting the tall, the short, the voluptuous, the androgynous, the conventionally beautiful, and the extravagant and dressing them in outfits that articulated their personalities. It’s an approach that has made Gucci one of the most followed, copied and bought brands on the planet by an extraordinarily diverse group of customers.

But this time it was deeper. With the help of 68 pairs of identical twins he recruited after spreading the word at a twin convention held in Twinsburg, Ohio, he delved into the metaphysics of individuality to explore the differences that can be nurtured internally even when ostensibly looking the same. everyone else.

The public did not know that the models were twins until the end - GUCCI BROCHURE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The public did not know that the models were twins until the end – GUCCI BROCHURE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“I’ve always been fascinated by how different the same outfit can look on different people,” Michele said backstage. “You can change a little thing, or a gesture, and the whole look changes.”

The cast of twins only became apparent towards the end, when the intimate space opened up to reveal that what looked like an unusually small Gucci show had been replicated on the other side of a sliding wall. For the first half, the twins had walked separately down two different catwalks to two audiences unaware of each other’s existence. It was only towards the end, when the wall opened, that each pair of twins descended the walkway together, hand in hand.

The 68 pairs of identical twins were recruited at a twin convention.

The 68 pairs of identical twins were recruited at a twin convention.

It was an extraordinary moment that packed more of an emotional and uplifting punch than many art installations I’ve seen, perhaps because (most unusual for a catwalk event) it spoke candidly about love. Michele, it transpires, was raised by twin sisters who dressed and combed the same way and were so close and united in raising her “it wasn’t even important to know which one gave birth to me.” .

The clothes almost felt out of place, and yet he was stronger than ever. Michele’s tailoring gets fancier with each season, and the eclectic extravagance of its ruffles, lames, velvets, bows, distinctive monogrammed bags (embellished with fluffy gremlins), and snake-print boots offer something for just about everyone. Just as important, from nerdy teens who want the sandals and T-shirts to the Princess of Wales who favors her silky bow-tie blouses to wealthy grannies who covet those tweed jackets, Gucci customers feel a fond connection with a house that encourages them to use it their way.

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