Gucci’s Surreal New Campaign Sees Horses Walk the Streets of LA

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Gucci Spring/Summer 2020, Photographed by Yorgos LanthimosCreative Direction by Alessandro Michele, Art Direction by Christopher Simmonds, Hair by Paul Hanlon, Make-up by Thomas De Kluyver

The house has released its Spring/Summer 2020 campaign, a suitably surreal outing from The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos

Since the beginning of Alessandro Michele’s tenure at Gucci, the house’s campaigns have transported viewers from outer space to a 1940s Hollywood soundstageDisneyland to the 7th century BC Greek city of Selinunte, all the while featuring an eclectic line-up of starlets, Harry Styles, Tippi HedrenCourtney Love, Gucci Mane and Iggy Pop among them. Equally eclectic have been the photographers, from longtime Michele collaborator Glen Luchford to seminal street photographer Bruce Gilden, and filmmakers Harmony Korine and Yorgos Lanthimos.

The latter – who released a book with the house last year – returns for Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2020 campaign, released today. The director and photographer, best-known for Academy Award-nominated films The Lobster and The Favourite, captures the S/S20 collection on the streets of Los Angeles on models who share the frame with a herd of equine co-stars, who wander along the city’s boulevards, down the aisles of a plane, swim in hotel pools or hang out at the beach. It is suitably surreal fare from Lanthimos, whose films are often deliriously unhinged and memorably feature various animals (in The Lobster, unsuccessful singles are transformed into animals at a particularly existential matchmaking camp). 

“However one looks at the campaign as a whole, there is no way to get to the point, and that is exactly the point, which makes for a libertarian message: truth and style are in the eye and in the ways of the beholder,” said a statement from the house this morning. “The narrative plot is ultimately left to the viewers to outline. Each eye, a path.”

Horses feature prominently in Gucci’s history, though: in fact, the house begun as a saddlery selling leather goods to horseriders in the early 1920s and, though expanding to a successful line of luggage, accessories and eventually fashion, the equestrian influence would remain key to the brand. Most notably, the ‘horsebit’ attachment on the house’s signature loafers – revived with aplomb in recent years by Michele – and used as a motif across the collections of the various designers who have helmed the house, including Tom Ford

The horsebit features across Michele’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, a suprisingly streamlined offering from the maximalist designer, which explored ideas of sex and liberation. At the show in Milan last year, the designer hinted that the collection marked a new era in his already stratospherically successful tenure: “The collection is a little bit less than more,” he said. “There were fewer things, so to speak. But can you say that a symphony is better than a piano solo?”