Alessandro Michele’s collections are seeped in historical references. Since taking over as creative director of Gucci, the designer has transformed the DNA of the Italian label, eschewing the high-octane sex appeal that his predecessors promoted. Instead, he references quirky styles from the past, particularly from the age of antiquity, and envisions them for today’s consumer.
This love affair with the ancient world is highlighted in Imitatio Vitae, a new tome published by Marsilio Editori and masterminded by Michele that showcases a series of bas-reliefs perched on the colonnade of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy. The photos are drawn from CameraphotoArte, a comprehensive archive of images of artworks in the City of Canals, and are curated by film producer and photographer Marina Cicogna. “In the 14th century, only a privileged few could read or write,” she observes in the book’s introduction. “Forget photography, cinema, and let’s reflect on the fact that these artisans could describe animals, warriors, ladies, zodiac signs, men from other cultures and religions, as well as baskets filled with flowers, fruits, vegetables just by carving them into stone.”