Headlines are being made across the world in the spirit of fashion, now that the world-famous designer brand features “Gucci-black Only” models for their latest pre-fall campaign.
Titled “Soul Scene,” Gucci’s latest initiative draws inspiration from several 1960s influences, according to their press release. Specifically, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele was moved by the photographer Malick Sidibé, who is known for capturing black-and-white images of the party culture in his native Bamako, Mali. The campaign was also influenced by England’s underground Northern Soul movement, which took place in the ’60s, a wave of music that drew upon the popularity of black American soul music. “[It] explores the freedom of expression found in music and dance,” the press release states.
But how does all of this translate to a fashion campaign? Introducing a diverse dance party, featuring the most fabulous fall fashions. Shot by Glen Luchford in a dance hall (the Mildmay Club in London), the images showcase the models pulling off some epic dance moves, carrying bold accessories, and enjoying what looks to be a wild party. But Michele and Gucci took it a step further by casting only black models — including Nicole Atieno, Elibeidy, Bakay Diaby, and Keiron Berton Caynes — and dancers in the campaign, a groundbreaking move in an industry not known for its diversity.
Gucci-black Only campaign was first teased in January, when the company released a series of Instagram videos featuring only black models revealing their “spirit animals.”
“Alessandro Michele has always celebrated diversity in all of its forms in his approach to his work,” said the company spokesman.
In the same article, casting director James Scully praised the move. “It has the potential to be an amazing game changer,” he told reporters. “This could reset the damage done and start the business back on the road of inclusiveness.” Scully had previously been critical of the modeling industry’s “cruel” and racist treatment of models, writing on Instagram: “It’s inconceivable to me that people have no regard for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls.”