Gucci's Aria Campaign Was Tailormade for Freud
Gucci‘s new campaign is a psychosexual feast for the eyes.
The cinematic images set the brand’s 100th-anniversary collection, “Aria,” (which is not a collaboration with Balenciaga) against a series of rich interiors littered with references to philosophy greats — Sigmund Freud, Jean Baudrillard — and, well, sex.
Models — including some notable figures, such as Kristen McMenamy and the members of Eurovision-winning band Måneskin — flaunt Fall/Winter 2021 hits, like a glittery Balenciaga-Gucci skirt suit, all while clutching copies of Freud’s Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, Baudrillard’s Simulacra et Simulation, and Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility — perhaps intentional irony, given Gucci’s scale.
Though these literary references seem totally outside of Gucci’s purview, they make more sense than you’d initially think.
Gucci’s internet-breaking FW21 show paid several homages to Tom Ford’s tenure at the house, which notably brought “porno-chic” to the forefront of fashion. Full of gilded Gucci G-strings and raunchy campaigns, the American designer’s reign would certainly delight Freud, king of making everything about sex.
And, playing with themes of fetish — namely, voyeurism and foot worship — the campaign more than nods to Freud’s particular areas of interest.
Baudrillard’s obsession with symbols manifests in Gucci’s instantly recognizable logo, which appears on pieces including stiletto boots awash in the house’s monogram and handbags simply embossed with “GUCCI.”
As a press release explains, the campaign is all about desire: sexual desire, material desire, our fetishization of luxury goods. It seemingly comments on the luxury goods that it simultaneously champions. It’s a heady presentation, but Gucci didn’t become the world’s hottest brand by playing things safe.
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