Alessandro Michele on his latest campaign for GUCCI – Exquisite inspired by Stanley Kubrick films

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Fashion and cinema are two of my favourite things so when I saw the new campaign for GUCCI conceived by Alessandro Michele and photographed and directed by Mert & Marcus, I was beaming. The campaign is inspired by five films directed by Stanley Kubrick: The Shining, even a bag as electric as the film, Barry Lyndon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut. All iconic films. Well done, totally loved it.

Below is a note from Alessandro Michele.

‘I have always been fascinated by cinema. By its capacity to tell stories that explore human adventure and its meanderings. By its visionary power to dig into reality, to make it vertiginously romantic and equivocal. After all, such an attentive look at humanity is so much like me. I could never have designed clothes that were disconnected from the history and life of their wearer. If you ask me, a garment is not, and never will be, a simple piece of fabric. Rather, it is an accessory that allows us to reveal who we choose to be, to give substance to our desires and the ultimate meaning of our passage. That’s why I’ve always imagined my collections as films capable of reflecting a cinematography of the present: a symphony of stories, eclectic and dissonant, that sacralizes humanity and its capacity for metamorphosis.’

‘Through the “Exquisite” campaign campaign, I pay homage to cinema and to one of its most brilliant masters, Stanley Kubrick, that philosophical director who, better than anyone else, knew how to bring out the magic of that inextricable knot through which cinema restores life and magnifies it. I have always admired Kubrick’s remarkable ability to tackle very different subjects. His experimental approach defies categorization. More precisely, each of his films assimilates the multiplicity of souls: dystopia meets parody, drama becomes comedy, horror resembles a treatise on psycho-philosophy, and the sense of truth slips into the strange. Kubrick was above all a true sculptor of genres: the “hybrid” director, ahead of his time. His ability to construct narratives that go beyond meaning, to push boundaries and revolutionize genres has always inspired me deeply.’

‘My love for Kubrick inspired me to repopulate his films, deepening this incendiary approach. I took the liberty of cutting them up, then mixing, grafting and assembling the pieces. True to my creative universe, I took these films, gave them new meaning and populated them with my outfits. Trying to create brief journeys where the Adidas dress, which had already lost its sporty style to become a Victorian costume, appears as a new character in the Barry Lyndon scenario. The dress designed by Laura Whitcomb, in which Madonna became a sensation in New York in the 90s, fits perfectly into the gothic scenes of The Shining. The mysterious darkness of the enigmatic ritual in Eyes Wide Shut envelops a Venus in fur, enhanced by sensual bourgeois beads. The shoes straight out of the 90’s, with the perfume of fetish, blaze in the sets of Clockwork Orange. And this splendid evening gown decorated with light tulle ruching ignites the aseptic and dystopian setting of 2001, A Space Odyssey. This game of settings intermingles historical plans, references and experiences. The past bursts into the present. Everything can be transformed. As in this famous scene from Kubrick’s masterpiece, where the bone becomes a vessel. Like in life.’

“With “Exquisite”, I continue my attempt to merge the sublime and the common, this time in a coherent way and in synergy with the rules of the great director. In the selected sequences, it is as if Nietzsche, Kant and Freud were casually chatting with passers-by on the street. The most essential questions about the meaning of life become pop images. Complex transfigurations in terms of meaning are immediately accessible in terms of experience. Every element becomes iconic and symbolically sophisticated, while at the same time referring to an identifiable pop culture. Ultimately, this is why I chose Kubrick. His creations are part of our collective imagination. With his ability to divine, Kubrick created works as recognizable as the Sistine Chapel, The Virgin and the Rocks, and The Simpsons. Manipulating his images into a new semantic framework of brands is like hacking La Gioconda. Not to mention the inspiration and empathy that can only operate through the fictional cinematic machine.”

“This association leads to a change of state that is very important for my work: the clothes reconnect with naked life. They are transformed into highly imaginative functional prostheses, with the aim of telling a story. A story that destroys, enchants, tortures, inflames. Because it is the story of the human being that remains in each of us. Stanley Kubrick knew this only too well. So did Milena Canonero, a dear friend, who agreed, at my request, to examine some of the scenes that made her an undisputed star in the history of costume design. Her participation in this project is a very precious gift to me.”


Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Eyes Wide Shut and The Shining are available for purchase in Blu-ray and digital formats.


Creative Director: Alessandro Michele
Art Director: Christopher Simmonds
Photographers and directors: Mert & Marcus
Make-up artist: Thomas De Kluyver
Hairstylist: Paul Hanlon

“With thanks to the University of the Arts London, which holds the Stanley Kubrick Archive, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and the Stanley Kubrick Film Archives.”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and all related characters and elements © & ™ Turner Entertainment Co. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, EYES WIDE SHUT, THE SHINING and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.(s22)

“Reproduction of original costumes designed by Milena Canonero and Charlotte Walter”.


“Title Music from A Clockwork Orange”
(from “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary”, arr. by Wendy Carlos)
Written and performed by Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind
Published by Tempi Music
Performance rights: BMI
Courtesy of Serendip LLC

“Clockworks (Bloody Elevators)
Written and performed by Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind
Published by Tempi Music
Performance rights: BMI
Courtesy of Serendip LLC

Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.