By Liza Corsillo.
The kaleidoscopic, crazy, appliquéd-everything universe that designer Alessandro Michele has developed over the past two years at Gucci is dragging fashion in a refreshing direction. Check out the ad campaign for its pre-fall 2017 collection, which the iconic Italian brand unveiled today. Dubbed Soul Scene and shot by Glen Luchford, the series features Michele's latest hippie-maximalist designs—including reptiles, fanny packs, sequins, tiger-intarsia sweaters, and, of course, a whole lot of embroidery—worn by an all-black cast of models and dancers.
Gucci explained in its press release that the concept drew inspiration from three examples of black art and youth culture: Malick Sidibé's black-and-white photographs of young revelers in his hometown of Bamako, Mali; England's underground Northern Soul movement of the 1960s; and the eye-catching portraits of men shown in the Made You Look exhibition at London's Photographer's Gallery (an exploration of black masculinity and dandyism).
In a moment when other brands and the fashion industry at large are deservedly being skewered on social media for a lack of diversity on the runways and in their marketing, Gucci's small step in the right direction feels refreshing; ditto Raf Simons' decision earlier this year to cast the actors from Moonlight for his first Calvin Klein Underwear campaign. Representation matters, but it would still be to the monolithic and (still) mostly white fashion industry's benefit to apply the same concept of inclusion to the jobs behind the scenes as well. Michele's Gucci has always run out ahead when it comes to style, looking back only to yank us forward and teach us: that we shouldn't be resistance to change, and that the best way to wear a rainbow sweater adorned with a tiger's head is over a pair of pink and red tie-dye jeans—ideally, as you'll see below, while striking a pose next to a large lizard.
This story originally appeared on GQ.
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