Ever since Alessandro Michele took the reins at Gucci, the release of the house’s campaigns has become somewhat of a moment. From hedonistic skaters in Berlin and neon trips around Tokyo to preppy jaunts with Vanessa Redgrave at Chatsworth House, Michele’s more-is-more vision has been translated to lush visual storytelling time and time again. The latest for Pre-Fall may just be the best yet – a celebration of freedom from society’s traditions and confines, found through music, dance, art and style.
Photographed by Michele’s go-to lenser Glen Luchford, the campaign uses The Photographers’ Gallery’s recent Made You Look exhibition as a launch pad. A visual ode to black masculinity and dandyism, the exhibition saw journalist and broadcaster Ekow Eshun employ the medium of photography to explore ideas of identity aesthetics. Next up on the reference list is Malick Sidibé, the late Malian photographer who dedicated his career to chronicling African youth culture since Mali’s independence in 1960. And finally, the campaign looks to Northern Soul, the seismic music and dance movement that emerged from the mod scene in late 60s Northern England.
Notably, the campaign features an all-black cast of models and dancers. This comes in the wake of a season that saw many designers making a stand against the lack of diversity present in casting: from London to Paris to New York, designers like Dries Van Noten, Gareth Pugh and Simone Rocha promoted age diversity through casting, Pyer Moss spoke out about the industry’s unacceptable norms in the new HERO, and agent James Scully took to Instagram to fight poor treatment of models witnessed at the Paris shows.
The campaign sees dancers act out some seriously strong moves on the floor, made all the more impactful in Gucci’s colourful and romantic Pre-Fall collection. While these motion-fuelled images draw strongly from the energy of Northern Soul, those of models in more static poses reference the visual style of Sidibé, who would place colourfully-dressed subjects in such positions, capturing them in poignant black and white.