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Gucci celebrates an epic milestone this year: 100 years of being one of the world’s premier fashion labels. Founded in 1921 as a leather goods company specializing in luggage and handbags for elite Italian travelers, Gucci has undergone countless reinventions over the years—notably in the ’80s, when it became the go-to brand for musicians, especially American rappers. Dapper Dan of Harlem famously pirated Gucci during that decade, setting in motion a streetwear craze for the GG logo and making it synonymous with palpably cool street style. Gucci’s unique ability to remain relevant and at the forefront of pop culture writ large inspired creative director Alessandro Michele to create the Gucci 100 collection, which honors the brand’s place in the cultural zeitgeist.
“The centennial, for me, represents an opportunity to bear witness to Gucci’s eternal vitality that year after year, is reborn; it renews itself, reestablishing an unusual relationship with contemporaneity as a boy, forever young, observing the world with a powerful vision,” Michele exclusively tells ELLE.com. “I recognized the manifestation of its youth in it having intercepted and traversed, for one hundred years now, popular culture in all its forms. Above all, in music: the only medium, aside from fashion, more reactive to the times that mutate and mark the new, the today, the now.”
Harnessing the joint power of fashion and music, Michele created Gucci 100 as an homage to the two creative mediums. According to Musixmatch, a music database that collaborated with the House on this project, Gucci has been mentioned in no less than 22,705 songs since its inception (yes, you read that correctly). Michele capitalizes on the brand’s rich lyrical history by emblazoning ready-to-wear, accessories, and leather goods with the Gucci 100 logo, as well as three phrases containing “Gucci” from three songs: “Music is Mine Gucci Seats Reclined” from “The R” (1988) by Eric B. & Rakim, “This One’s Dedicated To All You Gucci Bag Carriers Out There It’s Called You Got Good Taste” from “You Got Good Taste” (1983) by The Cramps, and, my personal favorite, “And The Men Notice You With Your Gucci Bag Crew” from Amy Winehouse’s “Fuck Me Pumps” (2003).
On his latest “hack,” Michele notes: “It isn’t a revisionist attempt to rummage through the past. If anything, mine is a ‘reverse’ revisionism of the House’s history, stitched back together by a piercing note, a melody, a refrain. Also because, if I were to depict Gucci, for me it would be an eternal teenager who hangs out at places where music is heard and played.”
For Michele, Gucci is a gesture, a moment in time that can be succinctly described in a song, or a piece of clothing. The campaign video, shot by Joshua Woods, encapsulates this distinct energy as well as the transportive power of music and dress. For the momentous launch, Gucci will open pop-ups around the world where pieces from the Gucci 100 collection will be available to shop. Gucci will also unveil a digital pop-up to commemorate the centennial. Here’s to 100 more years.
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