Gucci’s latest campaign is garnering the fashion house a lot of attention — and not just for the collection’s designs. Instead, Gucci’s pre-fall 2017 vintage-inspired campaign is grabbing headlines for its decision to exclusively feature black models.
Titled “Soul Scene,” Gucci’s latest campaign draws inspiration from several 1960s influences, according to a press release. Specifically, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele was moved by iconic photographer Malick Sidibé — who passed away in 2016 — known for capturing dynamic images of the party culture in his native Bamako, Mali. Also, the campaign was influenced by England’s underground Northern Soul movement in the 1960s, a wave that drew upon the popularity of black American soul music. “[It] explores the freedom of expression found in music and dance,” the press release states.
But how does that all translate to a fashion campaign? Introducing a striking dance party, featuring the most killer fall fashions. Shot by Glen Luchford in a dance hall (the Mildmay Club in London), the images showcase the models pulling off crazy dance moves, carrying bold accessories, and enjoying what looks to be a superfun party. But Michele and Gucci take it a step further by exclusively casting black models — including Nicole Atieno, Elibeidy, Bakay Diaby, and Keiron Berton Caynes — and dancers in the campaign, a groundbreaking move in an industry not known for its diversity. Check out some of the images below:
Gucci’s campaign was first teased in January when the company released a series of Instagram videos featuring only black models revealing their “spirit animals.” At the time, a company spokesman told Business of Fashion: “Alessandro Michele has always celebrated diversity in all of its forms in his approach to his work.”
In the same article, casting director James Scully praised the move. “It has the potential to be an amazing game changer,” he told BoF. “This could reset the damage done and start the business back on the road of inclusiveness.” Scully had previously been critical of the modeling industry’s “cruel” and racist treatment of models, writing on Instagram: “It’s inconceivable to me that people have no regard for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls.”
Gucci’s “Soul Scene” pre-fall 2017 campaign will begin running in mid-April, and we can only hope the fashion industry takes notes.