States all over the U.S. nation are passing stricter and stricter abortion laws and the Italian fashion house, Gucci, has something to say about it in their 2019 cruise collection.
Women’s Right To Abortion
With activist actresses Salma Hayek and Zoe Saldana seated in the front row during the showing of Gucci’s cruise collection on May 28, 2019, in Rome, Gucci designer Alessandro Michele made it clear through both the visual symbolism represented by both his highlighted audience members and his clothing designs his stance on women’s right to abortion. Perhaps even Michele’s choice to host the show in near darkness as, according to the Hollywood Reporter, “models stalked around the antiquities of Musee Capitolini in near darkness,” was an intentional ploy to draw attention to his desire to “shed light on political issues” such as the increasing threat to women’s reproductive freedom.
Written, Stitched and Embroidered
Another, more obvious way, Michele chose to display his political leanings was through statements written, stitched and embroidered onto various pieces of his 2019 cruise collection. For example, a blue blazer, fashionable within itself, was given an extra boost of power with the slogan “My body, My choice” written across the back. Direct references to Italy’s abortion law, which protects the reproductive freedoms of women, were stitched onto shirts; a sweater specifically sported the date “22.5.78” in reference to the date the Italian statute protecting the “voluntary interruption of pregnancy, better known as statute 194,” was passed. A casual dress featured the magnificent presence of an embroidered sparkling uterus and the updated Chime for Change logo – a movement that advocates for gender equality – was given center stage as it decorated the fronts of “sunshine yellow sweaters,” as described by the Hollywood Reporter.
’70s Rock Aesthetic
Coincidentally, the “maximalist style” and “1970s aesthetic,” as described by the Hollywood Reporter, both familiar to Gucci and still present within the designs of the cruise collection, aligned linearly with the representation of the 1978 Italian abortion statute. However, the Hollywood Reporter did notice a few new additions to the overall aesthetic of the cruise collection, such as men in dresses dubbed “pagan” togas by Michele. Other new elements included “Mickey Mouse sweaters, jingling glittery gypsy skirts and plaid cape coats,” as well as references to Elton John and rock music featuring “oversized eyewear,” which were fittingly present as Michele has worked to provide costumes for the upcoming biopic about Elton John, Rocketman.
To solidify the connection of Michele’s Gucci cruise collection with the ’70s, the fashion show’s afterparty featured the performances of ’70s rock icon, Stevie Nicks, and modern-day pop star, Harry Styles, who continued Michele’s theme of gender-bending as he posed with a sparkling clutch for photographs at the event.
Criticism For Cultural Appropriation
Another element familiar to Michele and his audiences present during the cruise collection premiere was the presence of religious symbols, such as “priest collars and wide-brimmed Roman clergy hats” worn by women, as well as head coverings that resembled nuns’ habits. As stated by the Hollywood Reporter, Michele has previously gotten into trouble for having a model walk down the runway in a “Sikh-inspired turban,” earning himself criticism for what the public deemed cultural appropriation. Yet, about which he clearly does not feel the same leftist ideology that he espouses when it comes to women’s right to abortion.