The actress visited the latest installment in Sydney, Australia
Actress and singer Nadine Lustre is no stranger to strange worlds. The Filipino multi-hyphenate took her fans into a fantastical realm with her visual album a few years back and she’s never been one to shy away from a highly conceptual photo shoot, even if it’s just for fun. This time around, Lustre flew to Australia to visit the latest installment of the Gucci Garden Archetypes in Sydney, alongside photographer BJ Pascual and Vogue Philippines fashion director Pam Quiñones.
Launched in Florence in May 2021 to celebrate the Italian house’s 100-year anniversary, Gucci Garden Archetypes is a traveling, multi-sensory exhibition that has sailed to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul since.
This limited-run installation features eight rooms that recreate some of the most conceptually adventurous campaigns by Michele in his six-and-a-half years tenure at the Italian label.
These include: the Pre-Fall 2017 campaign titled “Soul Scene”; Pre-Fall 2018 campaign, which marked the 50th anniversary of the student uprisings in Paris in May 1968; and the dizzying Gucci Hallucinations Spring/Summer 2018 campaign that includes a fresco that was painted by Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal to name a few.
This exhibition follows a model or an archetype. “An archetype is the original model of something, the source. As such, it can never be recreated as a copy of itself, but rather informs and influences what comes after,” reads the Gucci website.
Entering the Powerhouse Ultimo Sydney, the exhibit’s location, the Filipina actress takes control of the gears as she goes through the perplexity of Michele’s Gucci mind.
Lustre is greeted by Glen Luchford’s reference to StarTrek as seen in Michele’s F/W 2017: a control room with 30 screens that intermittently show images from the campaigns presented in the rooms to come.
“Each of the rooms is executed differently. It felt like a maze of Michele’s imagination moving from smaller spaces to bigger ones, from a dark alley with graffiti and a late-night-talk-show set to a box that mimics a moving train.” says fashion director Quiñones as they enter the hall.
Glimpses of Los Angeles, Berlin, and Tokyo alternate with visions of enchanted gardens and intergalactic landscapes; Ark builders are seen alongside compulsive collectors, dancers, irreverent smiles, partying pop stars, youth in revolt, and horses waiting at a car wash. The worlds are parallel, sometimes overlapping, to be explored in the company of suggestions and reflections.
Quiñones says that the exhibition was an “entry way into the mind of Alessandro Michele whose eclectic romanticism and flair for the eccentric and ambiguous ushered a whole new language for Gucci, and has since resonated with many.”
The Gucci Collectors and Urban Romanticism were a few of Quiñones’ favorites from the installation. “Gucci Collectors is a room of mirrors that brings to mind a suspended world where obsession and limitless passion reside. GG Marmont bags, toys, and ceramics of all sizes and colors are encased in clear boxes like they are cabinets of curiosities,” she says.
“A wall is decorated with cuckoo clocks, each set at a different time. Via a system of mirrors, you get a sense of an endless space of objects and reflections.”
Urban Daydream, Michele’s first campaign (F/W 2015) gives a sense of transience, a journey from one place to the next.
“It’s set inside a metro carriage that imitates a moving train with wind blowing inside the space, and a mannequin (a passenger) is dressed in one of the most iconic looks of Michele’s first collection at Gucci, a metallic chevron-pattern dress with fur cuffs and pussy bow tie,” the fashion director continues.
Other notable aspects of the exhibition include an ’80s nightclub bathroom of the Berlin-set Spring Summer 2016 campaign, a graffiti wall—an allusion to the student uprisings of May 1968 in Paris and an LA subway carriage from the Fall Winter 2015 campaign.
There’s also a mirrored maze with a dance party on loop encapsulating the energy and vibe of the Cruise 2016 campaign.
“It was an experience to see Nadine don different looks from Gucci’s Cosmogonie collection, and see how she creates stories through photographs with BJ Pascual,” says Quiñones.
They ended on a high note through music. “As a musician herself, she took delight in Anderson Hack’s music during the Gucci party. It served as the best ending to an epic event.”
Seeing that this may be the last Gucci Garden Archetypes exhibition with Alessandro Michele’s works on it, Quiñones looks forward to the future.
“I am eager to see how Gucci will transition after the departure of Alessandro Michele,” she says. “The Gucci Garden Archetypes exhibition is something to be experienced and I hope to see it evolve and continue telling stories through spaces in years to come.”
Photography: BJ Pascual