Gucci Garden is opening two new rooms, to exhibit an installation dedicated to the House’s collaboration with the Icelandic singer Björk. Located in the elegant, ancient Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence, which dates back to 1337, Gucci Garden takes the concept of the conventional museum and reimagines it as a living, collaborative and creative space in which to express the evolving aesthetic and philosophy of the House. The new rooms are being added to the existing Gucci Garden Galleria, the exhibition space that houses the permanent collection, which was conceived by Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele and curator and critic Maria Luisa Frisa, head of the BA degree course in Fashion Design and Multimedia Arts at Iuav University in Venice. These two period rooms on the first floor of the Galleria form one, extended space that will host special presentations and installations related to different artists and themes.
The inaugural exhibition is an installation dedicated to the collaboration between Björk and Alessandro Michele for the video The Gate (2017), with the emphasis on the dress that was the focus in the film: a luminescent envelope that made the narrative behind the words of the song visible and performative. The exhibits on display include the gowns and the masks worn in The Gate, the video that accompanies the first single of Björk’s album of last year, Utopia. In particular, a striking dress designed by Alessandro Michele gives form in a figurative sense to the overcoming of Björk’s suffering and her transformation in the video into a prodigious creature that irradiates love.
The shapeless exhibition space highlights the spectacular “hero” dress, which took 550 hours to make and 320 hours to embroider. It combines five metres of pleated iridescent PVC and 20 metres of pleated lurex organza, crêpe de chine and silk jersey. Other objects on display explain and link the imaginations of the two artistic personas Björk adopts in the video. A second gown is on show, as are an array of accessories, and two face masks conceived by the artist and embroiderer James Merry – all of these also appear in the video and contribute to its beauty and profound message. In addition, there is also a selection of precious books that are connected to the imaginary world triggered by the film and the creation of the gown.
Downstairs in the boutique, a table of books and magazines curated by Maria Luisa Frisa offers a further insight into Björk’s world in print – including the catalogue published for the 2015 exhibition dedicated to her by MoMA. The books, magazines and catalogues on sale help readers to engage with one of the most imaginative and hypnotic artists of our times; one who shares with Alessandro Michele the restless urge to interpret and imagine the contemporary, in new and unprecedented ways.
Other developments at Gucci Garden include a new screening in the Cinema da Camera on the first floor. On the ground floor of Gucci Garden is a bazaar-like retail space, organised across two large rooms, which houses products exclusively designed for this location and not on sale in any other Gucci stores. New additions are shoes and bags in unique patterns, prints and colours, such as the Princetown loafer and the Sylvie handbag, a RTW golden military-style frock coat, complete with frogging, a black and pink short sheepskin coat featuring a green kingsnake on its lining, and a decorative, red peak-lapel garden-print jacket with pink satin trim.
There is also a new selection of clothing and bags featuring the work of London-based artist Isabella Cotier, whose playful, colourful, faux-naïve illustrations have been applied to a range of sweatshirts, hoodies, T-shirts and tote bags. Cotier’s work for Gucci is the result of observational drawings of the eccentric local characters of Florence that she made while sitting in the cafés, markets and streets of the city. The collaboration with Cotier is the latest in a Gucci Garden programme of artist design partnerships, which began with pieces of clothing and porcelain mugs and candle holders displaying Jayde Fish’s whimsical illustrations.
In this Gucci bazaaritems are branded with Gucci Garden label. The House’s “eye” motif, for example, now decorates paperweights, boxes and stationary, as well as hoodies, T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Store: 10.00 – 23.30
Gucci Garden Galleria: 10.00 – 23.30 (last entry 22.30)
Gucci Osteria: reservations from 12.00 – 20.30
Admission – Seven days a week, year-round (closed on 25th December, 1st January and 15th August)
Ticket Price – € 8.00