Ever since being appointed Gucci’s Creative Director in early 2015, Alessandro Michele has continued to break ground on what is possible in the fashion industry. The Milan Fashion Week show was no different.
Of course, the clothes amazed the crowd, most of this collection was seemingly inspired by aspects of the animal kingdom and Y2K with cartoons printed onto low-rise skirts and midriff cutouts. Michele brought a new personal style to the brand’s clothing when he entered in 2015 that includes bright colors and vivid patterns along with the connection between antique and futuristic. Michele has never shied away from playing with fashion, which was shown by the printing of ‘90s Gremlins onto models’ skirts. Gucci remains an elegant and well-known brand while also exploring pop culture and eccentric ideas that seem to shout in your face.
The main spectacle of the show though, was the 68 pairs of identical twins dressed in matching and symmetrical Gucci outfits. The show started with just one twin walking like a normal fashion show, but halfway through a wall opened up while the soundtrack chanted the phrase, “I am not a clone, I am not a copy – I am different.” As the partition rose, the second half of the models came walking out, and the twins joined hands to walk down the runway ceremoniously.
It seems impossible that Michele and his team would be able to find so many sets of identical twins that were also willing to enter high fashion in Milan. The search took them to Northeast Ohio, where lies the town of Twinsburg which houses the Twinsburg Festival every year– the world’s largest annual gathering of twins and multitudes in the world. I cannot imagine it is every day that Italian modeling talent scouts are sent to Ohio to find their next big supermodel, but with Michele in charge, anything is on the table.
This isn’t the first time Michele has played with identicalness and asymmetrical reciprocity in high fashion. For the 2022 Met Gala, he stepped out onto the red carpet with Jared Leto as complete mirror images of each other. His 2018 Autumn/Winter collection showed models walking the runway while holding the heads of their doppelgänger, another thing that Leto incorporated into one of his previous Met Gala looks. The importance of exploring these concepts comes from Michele’s childhood, in which he was raised by his mother and his mother’s sister, who were identical twins. As a child, Michele used to tell teachers that he had “two moms” because, in his mind, there was not one of them without the other. This fashion show was done as a tribute to his two moms. In a statement on Instagram after the show had taken place, Michele writes that the show was an ode to his two moms, two women who “were able to comprehend life only through the presence of one another.”
As the models walked down with their identical twin for the second half of the show, they did so hand and hand. This seemed as though it was so to exemplify ideas of brotherhood, sisterhood, and the idea that they can only comprehend life through the presence of the other. I’m sure that many of them cringed at the idea of holding their sibling’s hand as they walked down the Gucci runway in Milan, Italy but there was one centric idea that bound them together: neither one of them would be walking in this show if it wasn’t for the other’s presence. The holding of hands also seemed incredibly significant to the current social climate, as we went through many months and numerous years being told that we had to stay six feet away from others and wash our hands every chance we got. This resulted in a lot of siblings who were old enough to have their own families and therefore no longer lived with each other to go long periods of time without seeing each other. Now here is an entire fashion show that is rooted in the idea of the interconnectedness between people.
In Michele’s approach of dressing identical twins in the same outfits, he provides an intriguing exploration of individuality in the realm of fashion. When dressed alike, the subtle nuances and distinctions between the identical twins were highlighted to a greater extent. When dressed exactly alike, the differences between the identical twins began to stand out more. Having a fashion show in this manner challenges the notion that fashion is just about conforming to set standards and following trends. Instead, it can be a means of self-expression and highlighting personal identity. The models walking side by side showed how the same item of clothing can have a different effect on the structure and intricacies of how our bodies look as each person’s body shape and movement interacts uniquely with the garments they wear. Because of this, fashion can be more than just the clothes we put on when getting ready in the morning, or an art form for the rich to experiment with, but fashion also becomes a platform for celebrating the diversity and uniqueness of individuals, despite external similarities. Michele uses the Twinsburg Fashion Show to explore the idea of identical twins more deeply but also to challenge the notion that fashion can be mass-produced and marketed to every individual.
When in conversation with Vogue, Michele stated, “Sometimes people think that fashion is just a good dress, but it’s not. It’s a bigger reflection of history and social change and very powerful things.” Through the Twinsburg Fashion Show, Michele was able to create a conversation about the very powerful thing that is the relationship between fashion and personal identity, using clothes as a way to embrace and express our own personal individuality.
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