'It's all Gucci' is slang for 'it's all good'. The phrase caught on in the 80s, but could not be more wildly appropriate in 2018. Gucci is in fashion. Gucci is in art. It’s in film, in graffiti, in street slang – and now it’s in our homes. Over the last decade, this titan of couture has made astronomical strides to establish itself as an all-encompassing creative house. Gucci isn’t just a brand anymore; it’s a culture.
Most recently punctuated by a foray into the world of interiors, Gucci has earned its (red and green) stripes and its star status with staggering omnipresence across various realms of artistry. It has achieved huge influence within pop culture by breaking down the rigid standards often associated with high fashion. Led very much by creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci fully embraces artistic collaboration – even in the most unconventional sense. Past and current collaborations and endorsements include a variety of Instagram-famous artists with cultish followings, like Jayde Fish, GucciGhost and Helen Dowie. This approach is what affords the Gucci look its on-trend, trademark chaos. Though it seems sporadic, there is actually method to the madness. Giving ‘the people’ what they want by taking cues from social media is a surprisingly business-savvy way to get ahead of the mainstream curve and stay relevant to influential millennials en masse. Of course it also showcases an impressive self-confidence in Gucci’s core branding: double Gs, horsebits, and that classic stripe. All are deep-rooted beneath whatever charmingly schizophrenic arrays of looney tunes, tigers or rainbow extravaganzas come next to pass.
The new decor line puts a spotlight on the boundaries that Gucci is working so hard to redefine, or at least blur, when it comes to individual creative fields – art, fashion, interior design etc. The Gucci Décor campaign made its debut to the world via a series of Instagrams, all featuring commissioned illustrations from British artist, Alex Merry. This was a significant move. The switch from photography to painted media threw a strategic clog (or fur-lined loafer) into the wheel of @Gucci’s visual stream, drawing necessary attention to such a momentous milestone. It highlights the importance that Gucci attributes to its collaborations. In this case, the commissioned artwork was deemed just as important a tool to deliver breaking news as any. Why shouldn’t all creative fields be interwoven with each other? Presenting a painting of a chair and then talking about the fabric and textures of the physical object is both visually and mentally stimulating. And it’s clever! They’re heightening our senses in preparation for more of Alessandro Michele’s wonderful world of mixed media.
The series of Merry’s illustrations was not just a launch tool though – every illustration is now visually synonymous with Gucci Décor. So much so that we wouldn’t be surprised if the next line of pillows were embroidered with the artwork. Merry’s careful yet whimsical style reminds us of authentic craftsmanship and makes us think of hand-stitching, hand-drawing or hand-pouring. The staging of each illustration is also far from formulaic, reflecting the personalised approach that can be taken with one, some, or all of the items in practice. They have been painted in a variety of configurations, to varying degrees of surrealism; there is no catalogue shot of everything in-situ to be cloned across houses made out of ticky-tacky. And that’s how Michele wants it. The idea is not to prescribe a particular decorative look, but to provide elements that allow for living spaces to be customised. Michele’s philosophy for personalising the home is in this way similar to his DIY programme for clothes and accessories, where you are invited to customise pieces by applying decorative details. Likewise, his collection of items for interiors is also intended to allow for a flexible approach to decoration, bringing an accent of Gucci’s contemporary romanticism into your space. Significantly, there is no dedicated area for the collection within Gucci stores. Instead, to emphasise the notion that these pieces are simply another way to dress in Gucci, they are spread throughout Gucci store interiors, integrated with clothing, accessories and shop fittings.
As with his magpie attitude to fashion design, the pieces in the new Gucci Décor collection display a multitude of design motifs now familiar from Michele’s catwalk. All the patterns, colours, designs and decorative tropes have been inspired by his fashion collections and are here reimagined for furniture, furnishings and crockery. The overall effect is one of a joyous combination of hue, pattern and design, where, as per usual, there are no rules. It’s a sort of respectful anarchy on bourgeois luxury. Pieces of text make occasional appearances and the influence of the Gucci Garden lexicon is ubiquitous, with flora blooming abundantly and creatures appearing everywhere, whether on screens, cushions or teapots. The smaller pieces of the collection are made of porcelain and are produced by Richard Ginori, the renowned Florentine company founded in 1735. With access to the skills of this historic porcelain factory, Michele has designed a range of distinctive, patterned crockery featuring a green and white Herbarium decoration. Porcelain scented-candle holders come patterned with Herbarium floral print, geometric chevrons, a striking, solid pink or the ‘eye’ design. Animals from the Gucci Garden – bees, butterflies and cockerel heads – have been 3D rendered in porcelain and attached to the pots and their lids. There are also small incense holders where 3D stag beetles and bees support incense sticks.
An uncommon vanity seat in a bright floral jacquard with silver details is the only upholstered chair, the others in the collection are better suited to dining – wooden and high-backed, with lacquered, colourful frames and padded seats displaying a number of Gucci House motifs: the cat, tiger, Staffordshire ceramic dog, moth, bee and roaring tiger. Sumptuous cushions come in a variety of different shapes and thicknesses, some with tassels, some with border trim. All have unexpectedly contrasting fronts and backs, where the fronts come in rich velvet and are decorated with designs like roses, snakes and tigers, or are in brightly-coloured capitonné. To partition living spaces, there are boldly decorative folding screens. These have striking patterns on both sides of their panels, some with different designs on front and back. A garden print, a pineapple print, geometrics, and patterns featuring octopuses or leaves all revive designs originally seen in Gucci’s fashion collections. If you want to cover even more surface area, there is a range of unconventional wallpapers that come in silk, vinyl and paper.
Vivid metal trays introduce some more strong colours and prints; these can be used practically, or, in the case of smaller circular models, as unorthodox ornaments for display. The metal theme is extended to folding side-tables, which also have brightly decorated tops. Michele has purposefully made the pieces easily moveable, providing enough scope to constantly dress and re-dress your environment. And that is effectively the essence of the Gucci Décor range – so loyally upholding the fast-moving culture that is key to Gucci’s unswerving creative success. Gucci doesn’t like to stand still but wholeheartedly welcomes you to join in the crazy and exciting rat race – whether you do so parading about town, or casually curled up by your roaring tiger cushion.
All images courtesy of Gucci