Tracing the Origins of Gucci and His Artist

Tracing the Origins of Gucci and His Artist

Alessandro Michele has revolutionized Gucci for a new generation, and V is taking a look at the underground artists that helped him propel the brand.

Alessandro Michele has revolutionized Gucci for a new generation, and V is taking a look at the underground artists that helped him propel the brand.

Text: Maxwell N. Burnstein

Art has become ubiquitous at Gucci under creative director Alessandro Michele and his artistic sensibility. The cult appeal of the brand's artist endorsements has seen a "broader and increasingly diverse clientele” driving the explosive growth, said the Kering-owned fashion house. Michele’s transformation of Gucci places artists at the core of the design process by using capsule collections, fine art events, and street driven tactics to transcend their mediums. As Michele is curating the next generation of talent, V takes a look back at the brand's most notable artist collaborations and recounts Gucci and His Artist.

Trevor Andrew

Photo courtesy of Trevor Andrew
Photo courtesy of Trevor Andrew
Photo courtesy of Trevor Andrew

GucciGhost has become synonymous with the house through his street-art appropriation. Canadian Trevor Andrew’s street-up approach to design placed illustrated ghosts, graffiti slogans and a graphic interpretation of the icon across Gucci merchandise. First gaining attention under the hashtag #guccighost to document his work on the streets, he was invited to collaborate on a capsule collection with Michele for the FW17 season. GucciGhosts saw the bootleg-styled artwork across Gucci products, custom fine artworks, and exhibits with branded furniture in an ode to the street, before Andrew broke off to success with 2 Chainz, Milk Gallery, and more.

CoCo Capitán

Photo courtesy of CoCo Capitán
Photo courtesy of CoCo Capitán
Photo courtesy of CoCo Capitán

“It’s text in an industry that mainly works with images,” CoCo Capitán says of her typography driven campaign and collection with Gucci. “What are we going to do with all this future?” has resonated with collectors, the slogan driven over the brand's signature stripe and interlocking emblem. Unveiled on their resident art walls on prominent New York City and Milan streets and promoted across social media, “Common sense is not that common” became a new image for the brand through Captain CoCo’s irreverent handwriting.

Helen Downie

Photo courtesy of Helen Downie
Photo courtesy of Helen Downie
Photo courtesy of Helen Downie

Forty items distinguish a capsule collection of eerie figures reminiscent of childhood imagination in the paintings Unskilled Worker, the moniker of artist Helen Downie. Illustrating the runways in pigment for Nick Knight, the protégé had her work gifted to Michele and set the “creative conversation in which I try to pick up on Alessandro’s references.” Building her own experiences into the work as if “painting themselves,” Downie sees her imprint on Gucci as transportive beyond the clothing and presence at the Gucci exhibition at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum.

Angelica Hicks

Photo courtesy of Angelica Hicks
Photo courtesy of Angelica Hicks
Photo courtesy of Angelica Hicks

“The Gospel According to Gucci” is silk screened onto a white Gucci shirt as a 1/100 collectable, a limited edition print of British illustrator Angelica Hicks's work. Taking part in the art wall residency to share her eleven-piece unisex T-Shirt line, the Gucci Geeks campaign played to Hicks's whimsical animations. The Instagram sensation was designed “to make people laugh,” said Hicks of her playful twist on a once-refined brand.

Yuko Higuchi

Photo courtesy of Yuko Higuchi
Photo courtesy of Yuko Higuchi
Photo courtesy of Yuko Higuchi

Painting cats has created a career of wonder for Tokyo-based illustrator Yuko Higuchi. Sentimental of Andy Warhol’s cat series, the whimsy of the feline faces has been sourced by Gucci for a capsule collection for the SS18 season. Extending beyond ready-to-wear into children’s accessories, Gucci’s feline-inspired capsule collection capitalizes on Generation-Z.

Ignasi Monreal

Photo courtesy of Ignasi Monreal
Photo courtesy of Ignasi Monreal
Photo courtesy of Ignasi Monreal

The first disciple of Michele uses romanticism in his artwork to alter reality. Artfully crafting surrealism onto a photographic base, he brings a symbolic gesture through his art wall for Gucci Bloom. Additionally, he provided printed designs for Gucci's Cruise 2018 campaign, and the brand's new holiday gift guide to a forthcoming eyewear campaign. The Spanish artist is a repeating reference to Michele collective of artists.

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