Twinsburg by Alessandro Michele for GUCCI

Dear Shaded Viewers,

A note from Alessandro Michele whose mother was an identical twin, her sister lived with the Michele family so this idea is deeply emotional. Imagine the confusion when you have essentially twin mother’s. Having been married to a twin once I can understand the dilemma.

In his own words:

“I am the son of two mothers: Mother Eralda and Mother Giuliana. Two extraordinary women, two twins, who made this situation the ultimate seal of their existence. They lived in the same body. They dressed and wore their hair in the same way. They were, as if by magic, a reflection of each other. Each multiplied the other. It was my world, perfectly doubled and duplicated.
I remember them, smiling, sitting at a café. When they were together, they felt at home. They shared the same genetic heritage, but not only that. They shared a secret intimacy that no one else had access to: an ancestral alliance, unconscious, since it was born at a much earlier time.
At school, my teacher looked at me with a worried expression when I said I had two mothers. For me, on the contrary, it was perfectly normal. It was the strange family I had always known. I didn’t know anything else. In fact, it didn’t matter who gave birth to me. They were both generative deities in my Olympus.
The grace of their duplicated and enlarged love gave birth to my eternal fascination with the notion of the double, with all those things that seem to reflect themselves identically. I catch an aura of beauty in these specular multiplications every time. It seems so familiar, so powerful. A shuddering miracle refuting the impossible.
It is precisely the impossibility of the perfectly identical that fuels the magic of twins. A genomic magic formula designed to create exactly identical creatures, when in reality they live in impalpable divergences and misalignments. This is the deception of sameness. The illusion game of cracked symmetry.
Twinsburg plays this game by generating a tension in the relationship between the original and the copy. As if by magic the clothes were duplicated. They would then seem to lose all their singularity. The effect created is alienating and ambiguous. It is almost a flaw in the idea of identity. Then comes the revelation: the same clothes give off different qualities on apparently identical bodies. Fashion, after all, is based on serial multiplications that do not hinder the authentic expression of all possible individualities.
By nature, twins live in this disturbing oxymoron and urge us to understand that what we see is not always what we think. Faced with a double, we are forced to find and name the differences more carefully, even the fine ones. My mothers, apparently identical, were in reality thoughtful and complementary extensions. One integrating the form of the other. They did not merge.
It is these asymmetrical reciprocities that underlie the most profound concept of a twin. It is the specular relationship between identity and otherness: the simultaneous presence of different subjects in connection. In fact, all twins, from birth, are well aware that they are not at the centre of the universe. They are used to living with another ‘self’. The boundaries of their body do not correspond to the boundaries of their being.
In this sense, having a twin is an experience of decentralisation. It is leaning towards the other. To see in oneself the flesh of the world. It is a topos that transcends biology, that reveals to us the sense of co-worship and sisterhood that should guide our passage on this planet. It is the possibility of feeling that we are part of a connective tissue that defines our common destiny as a creation.

To my twin mothers, who were only able to understand life through the presence of the other.”


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.