MILAN (AP/WJW) — Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele constructed a true parallel universe on the Milan runway with a surprise theatrical reveal — one that channeled the Northeast Ohio city of Twinsburg.
For his Spring-Summer 2022-23 collection dubbed ‘’Twinsburg,’’ Michele staged side-by-side shows inside the Gucci Hub, each unbeknownst to the other, until a wall lifted, revealing twins in identical looks in synchronic stride.
This isn’t the house’s first foray into seeing double, as seen at the Met Gala in May:
Twinsburg is of course the spot where multiples appear from around the world for the annual Twins Days Festival. And while not haute couture, the event has always been about the fashion:
For the final walkthrough of the runway show, the 68 sets of twins met in the center, grasping hands and reuniting for the final walkthrough. A backdrop showed a suburban-looking sign that read “Welcome to Twinsburg.”
The reveal was so powerful, so unexpected, that normally jaded fashionistas could be heard confessing after that they had been brought to tears.
“I was crying too. I don’t really know why,’’ Michele said backstage. “I don’t cry often but maybe it was appropriate at the end for me to cry because it was very intense.”
“I think it is much more complex doing this job now. There are times when I ask myself, why am I doing this? Somebody is talking about nuclear war. Politics is a catastrophe. The situation on the planet is a disaster,’’ Michele added. “But as human beings the only weapon we have is to imagine something else, and to make it happen.’’
Michele said that the show was an exploration of our own inner selves, and the reveal that we harbor sort of inner-twin, who might hold us back or spur us on.
His idea of ‘’the other’’ was shaped by an unusual family arrangement growing up believing he had two mothers: his own genetic mother and her twin sister. He called both ‘’mamma,’’ as they raised their families neighboring apartments because they couldn’t bear to be apart. He said he only started to understand the difference at age 7, when his aunt died.
“I had two moms, because we all lived together, so I really appreciated what taking care of the other means,’’ he said.
Michele said presenting his collection in duplicate gave more power to the garments, each of which was styled to the eclectic standard that Michele has set to great global success.
They included a suit with trousers that appeared to be held together by garters, revealing the upper thigh, a part of he male physic rarely seen in formal dressing. Quilted floral jackets and trousers were a genderless affair. A gorgeous silken embroidered robe was pleated in the back with a trailing train. Looks were accessorized with new face jewelry with metallic fringe, also seen on sunglasses.
The notion of an evil twin was represented on the runway by motifs from the 1980s movie ‘’Gremlins,’’ in which the creatures transform to become naughty. Appearing as stuffed accessories, patches and prints, the Gremlins were meant to underline “the fear of your evil-self,’’ Michele said.