A short list of things typically seen at Milan Fashion Week: celebrities, glamorous outfits and impeccably coifed models.
So the sculptures of severed heads were a surprise.
During Gucci’s unveiling of its fall and winter collection on Wednesday, at least two models — one male, one female — walked the runway carrying eerily realistic forms of their own heads.
The show’s inspiration, according to Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele was, in part, the 1984 essay “A Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway. The essay is a critique of identity politics and the idea that people must fit within predefined cultural boundaries.
“Limiting fashion to something that only produces business is too easy,” Michele said of the theme, according to Reuters.
So why severed heads? According to Michele, they were about accepting oneself and “looking after your head and thoughts.”
The heads weren’t the show’s only surreal accessory. One model wore a sheer top with nipple tassels. Several donned ski masks or balaclavas. One carried a figure of a small dragon.
The stiff-backed models wearing Gucci’s eclectic clothes walked around two surgical tables, complete with overhead examination lights, as if in a hospital.
“Our job [as creatives] is a surgical job: cutting and assembling and experimenting on the operating table,” Michele told reporters after the show, according to Reuters.
But the heads are what really caught people’s attention, particularly after the photos found their way online, where they were curated into a Twitter Moment.
“Gucci swapped out handbags for … fake human heads!” tweeted Fashionista editor in chief Alyssa Vingan Klein.
“Severed heads are SOOOOO next season!” tweeted fashion blogger Joshwa Saint James.
But not all fashion fans appreciated the show.
“I love Gucci but can we go back to the good old fashioned runways and not a surgery room with models carrying replicas of their heads,” one Twitter user requested.
To make the heads, Michele reached out to the Rome-based special effects company Makinarium after he saw “The Tale of Tales,” a film on which the company worked.
The company took six months, making molds of the model’s heads, then using three-dimensional printing to create the forms, according to Vogue.
“Alessandro [Michele] reached out to us unexpectedly — we didn’t know each other,” Leonardo Cruciano, who co-founded the company, told Vogue. “He had very precise ideas about what he wanted to achieve. It was a great collaboration; he’s a true artist, with a real passion, a fantasy so intense and inspiring it pushes you forward.”
More from Morning Mix: