Gucci, Gus Van Sant challenge fashion cycle with film collab

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FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 file photo, Designer Alessandro Michele acknowledges the applause at the end of Gucci's Fall/Winter 2020/2021 collection, presented in Milan, Italy. Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele teamed up with film director Gus Van Sant to create a seven-part mini-series revealing Guccis latest collection, dubbed Ouverture. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

MILAN – Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele has been looking to transcend the runway show, and the coronavirus pandemic has provided an apt moment.

Michele teamed up with American film director Gus Van Sant to create a seven-part miniseries revealing Gucci’s latest collection, titled “Ouverture.” The videos will be trickled out a day at a time starting Monday in the format of a virtual film festival and following the addictive pattern of streaming services.

Film and fashion have a long relationship, and Gucci is not the first fashion house to team up with a filmmaker, even during the pandemic. Ferragamo presented a film by Luca Guadagnino, the Italian director of “Call Me By Your Name” as the backdrop to its live show in September, while another Italian, Matteo Garrone created a film for Dior’s digital couture presentation in Paris in July. Prada commissioned five international video artists for its presentation in July.

What perhaps makes GucciFest unveil unique is its episodic format.

Michele announced in May that he was breaking with the tradition of the four-times-a-year runway show, often punctuated with an additional destination cruise show. Gucci will now roll out largely seasonless collections in November and April. It’s hard to say what he might have done if the pandemic hadn’t in some ways made a virtual presentation a necessity — especially as the virus makes a resurgence.

But Michele’s notion of how to present fashion has been in evolution since he took over the brand six years ago.

“It has been in the air for many years, the need to follow a new narrative and a new communication. I like experiments,’’ Michele said. While the pandemic did not condition the project, “for me it created a speedier reaction."

A film buff since childhood, Michele said he was discussing another project with Van Sant before the pandemic and proposed the miniseries project just a month ago. Van Sant traveled to Rome, where he filmed part of “My Private Idaho” 30 years ago, to shoot on location.