Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

Alessandro Michele took guests backstage for Gucci A/W 2020 show

Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele invited visitors backstage for the fashion brand's Autumn Winter 2020 show, which saw models stand like mannequins inside a rotating glass carousel.

Guests to the show, which took place on 19 February as part of Milan Fashion Week, entered not through the Gucci Hub's main entrance but via a backstage door.

Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

Here they were greeted by models getting their hair and makeup done in anticipation of the imminent show.

The room was brightly lit, with a mint-green floor and rows of white tables in front of illuminated mirrors.

Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

This backstage hubbub and preparation, according to Michele, is the part of the fashion "ceremony" that usually stays hidden – what he describes as "the struggle of the parturient that accompanies the tremble of creation".

The designer chose to put what typically lies behind the curtains at the forefront of the show.

"May the miracle of skilful hands and holding breath come out of the shadows," read Michele's show notes. "May the collective intelligence that takes care of gestation be visible, as shivers rage on."

Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

After passing through the backstage area, visitors then went through a black curtain into an octagonal room with a black floor and soft yet dramatic lighting.

Rows of black seating stands surrounded a cylindrical-shaped structure positioned in the middle of the space, acting as the runway, with a giant, neon-lit metronome at its centre.

Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

A voiceover of Italian film director Federico Fellini played to signal the start of the show, which spoke of the various elements and rituals that make up show culture and cinema.

"Cinema was just that, it was an hypnotic suggestion, ritualistic, something religious," the voiceover said.

"We used to go out, park the car somewhere, then everybody queued for all the ritual processions: the ticket, the opening of the curtains, the usher... spotting some friends. Then the lights dim, the cinema screen turns on and the revelation begins."

Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

Following Fellini's train of thought, Michele repeatedly likens the fashion show to a sacred ceremony, referring to the event as an "unrepeatable ritual", and its audience the "congregation".

The A/W 2020 collection is inundated with religious connotations, from large bejewelled crucifix necklaces to Puritan-style capotain hats.

"I have always considered the fashion show as a magic event bursting with enchantment," read Michele's show notes.

"A liturgical action that suspends the ordinary, loading it with an excess of intensity. A procession of epiphanies and expanded thoughts that settle into a different partition of the sensible."

Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

Michele's design team and hair and makeup artists accompanied the 60 models on the glass-walled turntable stage, showcasing the behind-the-scenes action as they dressed them for the show.

Each member of staff was outfitted in a grey button-down uniform, featuring a badge embroidered with the words "Façonnier de Rêves", which means "Maker of Dreams" in French.

Once the models were ready they stood at the edge of the glass turntable, looking out at the audience, some clothed in pinafore dresses layered with leather straps over the top and others in extravagant tulle gowns and fluffy hats.

Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show

Later in the fashion week, Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani also held its Autumn/Winter 2020, but unlike Gucci it was without a physical audience – a last-minute decision by the brand due to the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Instead, Armani live-streamed the show on its website and Instagram and Facebook pages, and ended the show with a gesture of respect to China, where the disease began, by sending 12 Chinese models down the runway in archival pieces inspired by the country's culture.

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Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show
Alessandro Michele refocuses backstage prep as the main act for Gucci A/W 2020 show