Fashion has clearly been reckoning with some collective societal angst and ennui lately — Raf Simons’ show for Calvin Klein was a very American-tinged version of this anxiety — and now Gucci is upping the surrealness to a new level with their severed heads.
In Milan, Alessandro Michele had his models walk down the runway carrying duplicates of their severed heads. It’s as disconcerting to see as it sounds, but it’s also…great. Gucci’s been the hottest brand in fashion for a minute now, with its over-the-top, delightfully bizarre maximalism speaking to a generation of millennials who, I think, are a bit tired of lifestyle blogger minimalism. So if they’re showing severed heads, then dammit, that’s the new accessory.
But the intention of the decapitated head is less sinister than you might think. According to the show’s notes left for attendees, the heads actually are cyborg-related. “Gucci Cyborg is post-human: it has eyes on its hands, faun horns, dragon’s puppies [Sorry, did we forget to mention the hyper-real dragon puppies some of the models were cuddling up with?] and doubling heads.”
The note continued on to read that the model head props were representative of “a figure that can overcome the dualism and dichotomy of identity,” a reference to Donna Haraway’s 1984 essay “A Cyborg Manifesto”.
The show’s setting was designed to imitate an operating room, which, the brand explained on Twitter, reflected the “act of cutting, splicing and reconstructing materials and fabrics to create a new personality and identity with them.” I’m sure that can be interpreted a multitude of ways, but it seems to me a bit of a commentary on social media — you dissect and stitch together the visual elements that comprise your identity. But either way, Gucci has their finger not just on the pulse, but ahead of it — I’m fully expecting to be carrying a copy of my own head to parties very soon.