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Gucci’s Irreverent Reverence

The Cloisters of Westminster Abbey opened last Tuesday afternoon to host Gucci’s Cruise 2017 show. Over the last 800 years, many events have taken place in this spectacular setting, from royal weddings to funerals and coronations, but never before has a fashion show graced such an iconic part of London.

The Cloisters of Westminster Abbey opened last Tuesday afternoon to host Gucci’s Cruise 2017 show. Over the last 800 years, many events have taken place in this spectacular setting, from royal weddings to funerals and coronations, but never before has a fashion show graced such an iconic part of London.

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Gucci’s Cruise 2017 collection, which will be available in November as a limited edition, Gucci-London range, has been defined as “unapologetically and spectacularly Anglocentric”. From tailoring to silhouettes, the patterns, the knits and embroideries, not to mention the liberal use of the Union Jack flag, the collection depicted pure, traditional English heritage fused with a contemporary look. So the choice of Westminster Abbey, as location for the launch, could not be more quintessentially British.

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Irreverent reverence, or reverent irreverence? Different opinions are to be expected… For Gucci’s Creative Director, Alessandro Michele, it’s a dream come true. “London is always on my mind and in my memories. I’m obsessed with British culture, past and present. To be able to show the collection inside the Cloisters in Westminster Abbey is magical,” he told Lisa Armstrong of The Daily Telegraph.

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However, as Reverend Peter Owen-Jones commented, such an event “confuses what the Church is for… Is the central icon of Christianity there to offer spiritual sustenance and love or is it just part of the marketplace of capitalism?” Other members of the church, such as the Dean of Westminster, supported the show, and considered it “a new and exciting collaboration.’’

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Despite such criticisms, the show dazzled everyone with the presentation of this eccentric collection in such a stunning scenario. 90 models solemnly marched along the cloister, while a mournful chorus of “Scarborough Fair” sung by the Schola Cantorum of Oxford, occupied the empty spaces. It was yet another expression of the Michele aesthetic, inspired by what he described as “punks, Victoriana and schoolboys”, or a promenade through centuries of English history. Privileged spectators of this magnificent show were seated on a front row of forest-green brocade pillows atop gray stone pews, each cushion embroidered with a medieval-style snake or bird, bumble bee or rabbit. Amongst them were Salma Hayek, Elle Fanning, Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco, Nicolas Winding Refn, Alexa Chung and Will.I.Am.

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