MILAN — Before opening a new chapter under the creative direction of Sabato De Sarno next fall, Gucci will celebrate its 102-year history and rich heritage with an expansive itinerant exhibition.
Dubbed “Gucci Cosmos,” the show displaying some of the fashion house’s most iconic designs is set to kick off at the West Bund Art Center hub in Shanghai on April 28 and to run through June 25, before touring the world.
Curated by Italian fashion critic Maria Luisa Frisa, the exhibition will feature eight immersive “worlds” devised by British artist Es Devlin and mixing audio, visual and kinetic experiences. Each of them will spotlight pieces hailing from the Gucci archives in Florence and will retrace the creative milestones of the brand, encompassing the work of founder Guccio Gucci, successors Tom Ford and Frida Giannini, up to designs by Alessandro Michele, who suddenly exited the company in November.
“This is an exhibition that will take visitors on a captivating voyage through the house’s past, present and future,” said Gucci’s president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri. “Gucci has always charted its own course, building a legacy that is rooted in heritage and craftsmanship, while always present at the intersection of fashion and culture. In this way, ‘Gucci Cosmos’ is a true celebration of the brand’s evolution over the course of its 102-year history thanks to the iconic designs and ingenuity that have always defined the brand, and will continue to do so.”
Accessories will be particularly key at the show, ranging from luggage from the ‘50s, Bamboo bags from the ‘60s and Jackie bags from the ‘70s, in addition to silk scarves splashed with the iconic “Flora“ print.
The essential visual promoting the exhibition is also inspired by an old campaign titled “The Gucci World.” The graphic highlights the brand’s signature red and green colors and its GG logo, which frames a world map positioning China at the center.
Like the poster, Gucci’s move in staging the inaugural leg of the project in Shanghai signals its ongoing focus and commitment toward the local market.
To be sure, the fashion house has already curated and supported several exhibitions in China, ranging from the group art show “No Longer/Not Yet” in 2015, which was a joint brainchild of Michele and co-curator Katie Grand, to “The Artist Is Present” in 2018, which was curated by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and featured site-specific and existing artworks from more than 30 Chinese and foreign artists.
In 2021, as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations, the company staged a leg of its global exhibition “Gucci Garden Archetypes” in Shanghai. In June that year, the Gucci Aria fashion show was also replayed in the city, but to further mark the occasion, 13 new looks were unveiled in addition to the collection.
At the time, the special event drew local brand ambassadors Lu Han and Ni Ni, among others. They add to influential celebrities Gucci has tapped over the years, including pop star and actress Chris Lee in 2016 and popular actor Xiao Zhan in 2021.
Last year, Gucci also appointed former Tiffany & Co. executive Laurent Cathala president of Greater China fashion business, marking a new Shanghai-based position for the company.
The brand has 99 stores in mainland China, including those dedicated to the watch and jewelry category.