Get ready for a cosmic fashion adventure as Gucci Cosmos (Instagram) touches down in London. This captivating exhibition transforms 180 Studios, nestled within the iconic brutalist landmark of 180 The Strand, into an immersive exploration of Gucci’s history. Curated by Italian fashion critic Maria Luisa Frisa, Gucci Cosmos draws inspiration from celestial patterns, offering a unique journey through the past, present, and future of the legendary Italian fashion House.
This cosmic event aligns with Frieze Week, with Frieze London 2023 unveiling previews on the same day to celebrate the fair’s 20th anniversary. Gucci Cosmos first graced Shanghai, China, in June 2023, featuring mesmerizing set pieces by Es Devlin and an extensive collection of Gucci archive items. Devlin returns to create distinct ‘worlds’ in the exhibition space in London, from surreal clothing archives to an enchanting room filled with floating flowers and bees, paying homage to Gucci’s iconic ‘Flora’ motif.
The journey begins with a recreation of the red-lacquered elevator at the Savoy Hotel, considered by some to be Gucci’s birthplace. Guccio Gucci, the house’s founder, worked there as a bellboy in the late 19th century. Observing the need for luggage among the elite in a rapidly changing world, Gucci was inspired to establish the brand as a luggage maker in 1921. Gucci Cosmos pays homage to this origin story with a recreation of the Santa Maria del Fiore church’s Brunelleschi-designed dome, welcoming visitors at the exhibition’s entrance.
Stepping into the exhibition feels like navigating through a labyrinth, with revolving doors guiding you through various rooms and immersive experiences. ‘Portal’ takes you back to Gucci’s origins in travel with a gently rotating luggage belt, showcasing archival and recent designer suitcases, trunks, and hat boxes. ‘Zoetrope’ channels the spirit of Eadweard Muybridge’s 1878 moving-image invention, with swirling footage of horses creating equestrian-inspired pieces from different Gucci eras.
‘Two’ presents enormous white resin figures inspired by Jonathan Swift’s novel “Gulliver’s Travels,” projecting historic men’s and women’s Gucci tailoring. ‘Archivio’ and ‘Cabinet of Wonders’ provide the sensation of delving into Gucci’s archive with shelves and vitrines containing precious Gucci objects. ‘Carousel’ takes you on a journey through the work of the House’s various creative directors, illustrating how Gucci has left its mark on fashion over time.
Visitors will also witness a glimpse of the future under the creative direction of Sabato de Sarno. Immersed in a world of red, inspired by The Savoy lift’s iconic red walls, you’ll encounter a central screen displaying a visual collage of the Italian designer’s inspirations, from fragments of poetry to vivid images of oceans, candles, explosions, and cities. This room is aptly titled ‘Gucci Ancora,’ an Italian term meaning ‘also now, also then,’ reflecting the forward-moving spirit.
Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Gucci Cosmos, a fusion of fashion, history, and innovation, at 180 Studios, 180 The Strand, London, until December 31.
Tickets can be booked here.
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