Text by Lucrezia Sgualdino

A hymn to solidarity and togetherness, Alessandro Michele looks at his own experience and tells an artistic and intimate vision of the other, of the we, on the runway.

Giant photos of faces, of pairs of identical faces but with different expressions appear at the entrance of the set designed by Alessandro Michele for Gucci’s SS23 collection. The key to the show is double identity, twinship, with elements that are the same but also opposite. Twinsburg is the name the designer decided on for this journey. The town of twins. The town of his two mothers, of Eralda and Giuliana, to whom he dedicated the work. It is precisely from here, from their duplicated and expanded love that a fascination for the double, for everything that seems to be reflected in its own uniqueness, was born in Alessandro. Indeed, in every element that recalls an identical multiplication he recognizes a strong family feeling, personal and unique. What makes twins singular is precisely that impossibility of the perfectly identical, coincident but misaligned, similar but distant. 

“To my twin mothers, who were able to access the understanding of life only through the presence of the other.”

 – Alessandro Michele 

In the city of twins, the models parade at a relentless pace, with references to silhouettes and aesthetics from the 1970s and 1980s, vintage elements that are encapsulated in Alessandro Michele’s stylistic signature. The idea of originality and uniqueness is turned upside down the moment the copy appears. The catwalk becomes double, the central wall of faces is raised and magically the clothes are duplicated in an ambiguous and alienating but at the same time fascinating effect. The same clothes, equal in the smallest details, are worn by two seemingly identical people. The synthesis of the concept of doubles comes with the models drops of water that meet in the middle of the catwalk, shake hands and proceed together, supporting each other, until they leave each other again, just ahead. The meeting releases energy, and the goodbye determines the eternal bond. In the details of the collection there are tailored suits with maxi-volumes, oversize trench coats contrasted with dresses that swathe the bodies, flamboyant prints and patterns. Leather is not missing, in jackets and cargo pants, as well as in accessories. These are the one that take center stage, glasses with dangling rhinestones, on the nose jewelry that joins the ears, necklaces filled with pearls and monochrome headgears. Bags with classic lines are joined by fun elements: small colorful teddybears and furbies with alien ears become fanny packs and clutches. 

Twinning is the concept of asymmetrical reciprocity par excellence, the co-presence of different yet connected subjects. Due to this there is an innate leaning toward the other, and full participation. In conclusion, just as virtue also true essence lies in the middle; the synthesis of the we, which leads us to be opposites and different. Identity is thus understood only through the presence of the other, in a representation that seems like a deep poetic dream.

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