Gucci Launches New Ad Campaign Casting Only Black Models

Fashion

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Gucci has made a bold attempt to challenge the lack of diversity in fashion by casting a line-up of black models in its new ad campaign.

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The Italian brand, helmed by creative director Alessandro Michele, has tapped a group of black fashion models to appear in its pre-fall 17 shots, titled “Soul Scene,” which were shot by photographer Glen Luchford.

In the vivid pictures models and artists can be seen in a party setting either dancing or posing for the camera while rocking brightly colored pieces from the line, like a glittering blue and gold bomber jacket and a pair of green track pants.

According to outlet WWD, designer Michele was inspired by an exhibition called “Made You Look,” which was held at London’s The Photographer’s Gallery last year. The display featured pictures exploring “dandyism” in black men’s culture, highlighting their masculinity in shots including one of two guys sat on a motorbike and one featuring a man standing in a head-turning white suit covered in green shapes while holding a bright green umbrella.

The publication notes this wasn’t the only source of motivation for Michele; he also combined ideas influenced by Malian artist Malick Sidibe, who was famous for his black and white photos of popular culture in the 1960s and 1970s. Lastly, the fashion star sought stimulation from the Northern Soul movement, sparked when American soul music hit northern England in the late 1960s.

Gucci’s campaign will debut in international fashion publications this month.

The concept for this project was teased in January, when the brand posted videos of models seemingly auditioning by introducing themselves on camera and dancing. Viewers were quick to point out that each candidate was black, triggering rumors that Gucci was set to make a statement in regards to challenging the lack of diversity in fashion.

Even the name of the campaign was hinted at when the models were asked, “What does it mean to have a soul?”

“(Soul is) part of black culture. I think of Afros, kind of old school flair, that kind of style. Soul Train,” campaign star Camille Munn smiled.

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