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Creative Direction - Gucci

  • Anshika
  • Essays
  • March 20, 2018
  • (0)


Creative direction is a role that often gets interchanged with Art direction or Design. Daniel Mall(2014) defines it as "championing the intersection where Art Direction & Design meet Strategy”. Art Direction is when a person visualises then describes the website, an advertising campaign, or a runway show, while the design is a person physically creating what is described. When the two collaborate, they reach out to a strategy used to meet a set goal. The strategy changes with the circumstances in the external and internal environment. Therefore, the fundamental purpose of creative direction is to ensure that the Art Direction and design result centres on the client’s touch points. If any of the three ingredients fall short, despite others being good, the creative direction will not be up to standards. For instance, despite having an excellent strategy and profound art direction, if the final design is not satisfactory, it will still imply poor creative direction.

This paper will focus on Gucci’s Creative Direction and its transition to sans photography campaigns in the recently launched Spring Summer 2018 Advertising campaign "Gucci Hallucination" under Alessandro Michelle's Creative Direction.



The intricate craft put in by Alessandro Michele in the curation of the Gucci gallery are impeccable. He focuses on evolving through his creative adventures. Gucci has been very eclectic in its communications through exploring modernity with an eye for historical

references. It displayed a diverse number of visual campaigns and editorials. In 2017, they take you on a ride into another world to celebrate with stylish aliens or play on the Harlem streets with Dan Dapper. Furthermore, collaborations with various artists and illustrators play a significant role in making sure of a successful and meaningful evolution.

The consumer behaviour is dynamic and filled with rapidly renewed desires. People continuously wish to see innovative and unprecedented details. Alessandro's Spring Summer 2018 collections points out clear references to his inspirations that involve the consumers in his world of art and fabrication. Before the runway show, Alessandro Michele mentioned that it is not entirely about the products anymore. He said, "I think it’s no longer time to just talk about the clothes. In the beginning, it was something that allowed me to reflect my idea of beauty. Now it’s more than beauty. It’s a state of mind. It’s an idea of community and profound expression" (Richard Magazine, 2017). He further explains that he wants to establish the notion that fashion is all about the little details.

Recently, the company explored co-artisting with the Spanish illustrator Ignasi Monreal who has formerly collaborated with Dior, Louis Vuitton and J.W. Anderson (Urbina, 2018). He also went on to produce exceptional digital paintings inspired by Greek mythology for the Gucci Gift Giving campaign. Then, for Spring Summer 2018, Gucci went photography free and released yet another eccentric portfolio of artwork by him that manifests a dreamlike fantasy world. Alessandro's Creative Direction, Monreal's illustrations and Christopher Simmonds Art Direction depicts a surreal spectacle and connects us to a whole new visual anecdote. The "Utopian Fantasy" created by the three artists is a journey of infinite illusions surrounding the fundamental elements of the planet named water, earth, sky and fire (Withington, 2017). The complementary colours used in the campaign flawlessly depict these elements. The Gucci Hallucination campaign allows a viewer to escape from the day-to-day realities to a whimsical and mystical environment. It highlights hyperrealism and widens one's imagination. For instance, one minute the consumer might be sitting on cloud catching planes with the girls and the next, immersed in the sea as mermaids in elegant sheer gowns. It displays women don't need planes to reach places when ornamented in Gucci. They get empowered, fly on their fishing stick and net aeroplanes instead. The latter image exhibits a beautiful frame of mermaids adorned with pastels, subtle shimmer, embellishments and Gucci accessories like layered pearls necklaces and the brown statement handbag with the Gucci colour strip right in the middle. The pose reflects two women of di?erent races being comfortable and a?ectionate with each other. The resemblance of the digital art to a narrative in ancient paintings and the iPhone perfectly juxtaposed in the hands of one mermaid forms a coherence between antiquity and modernity.

Allesandro Michele and Monreal's collaboration even brought in Disney characters like Snow White in a modern avatar never seen before, wearing a casual jumper with an imprint of the original Disney version of the princess biting an apple. The partially eaten Apple and the turquoise parrot in the painting plays an important role to signify the Disney character.

In picture 7, one can see a horse with a knight wearing the brown interlocked ‘G’ Ophidia tote bag in suede. The diverse choice of tones works well to highlight the bag and create a magical atmosphere around it, for instance, the background with the castle resting in the air on the island, the grey clouds, blue skies and the glistening earthy colour of the sand and the knight's armour. In a world created by Alessandro Michele, mermaids and knights can text and, chimerical characters can swim in the sea in lavish gowns (Richard Magazine, 2017). It makes the new-age consumer feel at home in the middle of this imaginary world. 

Moreover, Gucci Hallucination presents a distinctive quality, often inspired by mythical and uncanny inventions, for example, the tiger with a woman's face showing o? the oversized sunglasses and the glittering lilac headgear meeting eyes with the two women decked up in all Gucci. 

The images illustrate the new collection in many celebrated paintings such as first, ‘Ophelia’ by John Everett Millais where she lies unconscious in a pond full of lilies wearing a sparkly gold dress, with a bow on her waist and pearls around her neck (Salter, 2017). There is a branch of leaves falling o? a tree almost as if it is right above Ophelia.

Her dress catches the eye; though, features like the two white flies above her and the deep jungle add to gain a whole experience. And second, ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Hieronymus Bosch and ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ by Jan van Eyck with all its other creations in the painting (Salter, 2017). In part, it also resembles Gulliver's Travels because of the di?erence in size of the two holding hands in the centre and the rest in di?erent parts of the background. Some sitting on the green grass, and some on a silver knife held by giant hands with a ring on it. The artists have shown remarkable details in the image and created the Gucci world for their fans. The elephant with the Gucci strip, the snow white's apple with a parrot on it, the eagle eyes on the bottom right, the interlocked G logo standing at the back and the list keeps going on. 


The images are unreal, but the Gucci Hallucination film pushes the campaign further to bring the magic to reality. The film begins with Monreal sketching, he looks up, greets the audience and welcomes them into Gucci Gallery. Ignasi Monreal then briefly gives the audience a tour of his work of art created for Gucci Hallucination. He mentions the use of the tiniest bit of crimson, some cadmium yellow, emerald green, and as he describes it "a touch of renaissance gold". It is an ironic description of the shades of paint used because, in reality, the paintings are all composed digitally. And finally, he unveils the gold sequins dress designed by Alessandro Michele as he steps into the ‘Ophelia’ inspired painting and brings her to life. The campaign film is in harmony with the campaign images, and together they engage the viewer to be part of Gucci's world. A good example is when Ignasi Monreal says ”Greetings” right at the start of the video; it works well to get the attention of the viewers. 


Gucci keeps their target group engaged by putting images of the upcoming campaign and using ambiguous statements to create mystery and curiosity until it is o?cially released. They also have a teaser for the Spring Summer 2018 campaign film as a highlighted story on Instagram with a link that directly takes you to their Gucci Hallucination page on the website if the user swipes upwards. With over fifteen posts from the campaign on Instagram and over 230,000 likes on the pictures, it has managed to keep its twenty-one and a half million community involved in its endeavours. Beyond this, Gucci revealed two custom-made art walls by Ignasi Monreal for the Spring Summer

2018 Campaign in Largo la Foppa in Milan as well as in Soho, New York City. The campaign involved a #GucciArtWall initiative and the day of the launch, Gucci shared images of these walls on their Instagram account. This act made everyone even outside of the two cities to know, absorb the art and talk about it. If the content is conversation-worthy, it is thriving content; one can either appreciate it or learn from it.



Alessandro Michele's creativity has set a benchmark for all the other fashion houses in the industry with the release of statement pieces and outstanding communications every season. Brands are taking a more dramatic route in their tone as well as aesthetics reaching out to di?erent time periods and classic artworks.

For the Gucci Hallucination campaign, they could have taken it one step further by adding some copy to the images. If the viewer knows what the mermaid is thinking while texting or the woman catching the airplanes, it could have engrossed them more and enhanced their horizon of imagination. Nevertheless, the Italian brand with Alessandro's Creative Direction has vigorously reached the intersection between the 'Art Direction' and 'Design' to meet the 'Strategy', i.e. to reach out to the a?uent millennial through modern digital technology. At the same time, retaining the older segment through billboards and art walls. Overall, the Spring Summer 2018 campaign is opulently successful and got its viewers in awe of the characters as well as the enigmatic settings.


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