GUCCI UNVEILS THE GUCCI COSMOS EXHIBITION
The immersive exhibition journeys to London, a city intrinsically tied to the heritage of the House.
Gucci is proud to present Gucci Cosmos, a cutting-edge exhibition of the House’s most iconic designs from its 102-year history. Having premiered in Shanghai in April, the itinerant global exhibition arrives in London in October, bringing its creative and immersive experience to 180 Studios at 180 The Strand. Celebrating the House’s deep ties to the UK’s capital, Gucci Cosmos takes visitors on a journey backwards and forwards through time, exploring the House’s history and its Florentine roots while writing a paean to its enduring creativity.
It might be said that the story of Gucci began in London in 1897 when a young Guccio Gucci took a job as a luggage porter and liftboy at the city’s exclusive The Savoy hotel. Carrying guests’ luggage through its famous revolving entrance doors and operating the lift up to the rooms and suites, the teenage Guccio encountered up close the tastes and lifestyle of the international elite, absorbing – as if by creative osmosis – new ideas, broader horizons, and more worldly cultural concerns. Inspired by these experiences, and with a new-found aspiration to make his name synonymous with the art of luggage making, Guccio returned to Florence and in 1921 founded his eponymous leather- goods house, followed by the first Gucci store on the city’s Via della Vigna Nuova. Gucci Cosmos explores how Guccio Gucci’s abiding codes and spirit have been brought to life in the House’s most iconic designs, and how these era-defining classics have forever inspired and been reinterpreted by its design visionaries. The exhibition showcases how this progressive belief in the power of creativity, anchored in the finest Italian craftsmanship and tradition, has seen Gucci not only mirror the times, but also define them – and in doing so, influence society and aesthetic tastes.
Conceived and designed by renowned British contemporary artist Es Devlin and curated by eminent Italian fashion theorist and critic Maria Luisa Frisa, this playful voyage through Gucci’s past, present and future is experienced across a series of ‘worlds’ that draw together treasures – many previously unseen – from the Gucci Archive, a living and breathing repository and working hub for the House’s creative teams, housed in the 15th-century Palazzo Settimanni in Florence. Each world traces a different aspect of Gucci, its unwavering principles since its foundation in 1921, and its ever-renewed inspirations and creativity – from the nascent ambitions of founder Guccio Gucci to the pioneering spirit of his sons Aldo and Rodolfo, and the wildly imaginative powers of more recent creative directors Tom Ford, Frida Giannini, Alessandro Michele, and now Sabato De Sarno.
Es Devlin: “As a creative endeavour and expression of the times, the House and its history over the past century can be mapped through an ability to evolve and, more broadly, to expand on the mutability of our own consciousness and ability to make cognitive shifts. Rather like a garment itself that is able to be changed and re-tailored, like a shed skin that constantly renews itself. For the exhibition’s iteration in London, I wanted draw on the city’s pivotal role in the House’s origin myth in which a young Guccio Gucci rode up and down the red lacquered ‘Ascending Room’ at The Savoy where his interactions with guests and their exquisite luggage would go on to forge his future.”
Maria Luisa Frisa: “Gucci Cosmos, a project in the form of an exhibition inaugurated in Shanghai and now located in London, was an extraordinary opportunity for me to traverse the universe of Gucci through an ever-different lens. And I was able to tell its story through the clothes, objects, elements, people, and contexts that made this brand iconic and a trailblazer within fashion and collective visual culture for over a century. It is a challenge to work on an exhibition that evolves based on different spaces and the atmosphere of the cities that host it, and therefore demands reflection on the special connection between London and fashion, to reconfigure the relationship between the elements and the selection of objects. Gucci Cosmos is an immersive expository experience in which the origin story and history itself are continuously put to the test by the imagination of the future.”
For Gucci Cosmos in London, Es Devlin has dived deeper into the House’s long-standing ties to the British capital (her hometown), adapting the show’s design with site-specific experiences. Using a careful balance of audio, visual and kinetic components, she has begun with Guccio Gucci’s experiences at The Savoy – which sits just 500 metres from 180 The Strand – further exploring this key period in the House’s origins, which she frames around the metaphor of orbits within the Gucci universe. The exhibition conveys how the timelessness of Gucci’s visionary ethos and its gravitational pull creates and shifts meaningful dialogues and myriad correspondences between the House’s iconic designs, its creatives and artisans, and society at large.
Ultimately, Gucci Cosmos is an experiential incarnation of the Gucci soul, from its origins in 19th- century London to its foundation in Florence and its fruitful growth around the world. It is a tribute to the House’s most iconic designs, symbols and products, and the exceptional talents of its designers and artisans. From Guccio Gucci in 1921 to today, all have ensured – and continue to guarantee – that Gucci will forever remain at the pinnacle of creativity and Italian craftsmanship, a global House committed to genuine luxury quality, iconic designs, and ideas that shape the future.
Gucci Cosmos opens at 180 Studios, 180 The Strand, in London, on 11 October and runs until 31 December 2023.