Gucci Made Me Hardcore: or Less is Bore

Gucci Made Me Hardcore: or Less is Bore

Fee, fi, fo, fum, I hear the wit of an Englishman. (Pronounce that with a British accent so that “man” rhymes with “fum.”)

While many of you, no doubt, are excited that your holey Wolford tights can finally be put to good use (not for robbing banks, but in imitation of John Galliano’s latest skullcaps and hairnets for Margiela, in 13 out of 33 looks! see, I’ve put on a different kind of thinking cap, slowly, and I’ve come to the conclusion that….

What Mark Leckey is to the artworld, Mr Gucci is to fashion.

Let me unpack that: Mark Leckey is my all-time favorite artist, Alessandro Michele my favorite designer. And in every way that Leckey is the weird image prophet of the artworld, my Gucci pimp Alessandro Michele is to fashion.

Here’s the weird thing. On the runway in Milan, the Gucci theme was what Alessandro Michele declared as being influenced by Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizomatic thinking. What’s that, you might ask? All those random things in life yoked together into a jacquard of thought, topped off with lots of brooches, bows, furry patches to fondle in quieter moments at the cafe. Mark Leckey’s thinking is of the same cloth: his work largely comprises the wildly divergent image of thought, his own thought as informed by the internet, his own biography in subcultural not-London, England, shaken, not stirred. And this is why I think Alessandro Michele’s most recent “rhizomatic display” is more along the lines of Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. Now where are we going with this. Be patient. I’m getting there.

Take Gucci’s trompe l’oeil jabot (that fancy word for lacy, or whatever, bib) on this sea-nymph green cape versus Leckey’s similar aesthetic, a talking almost-garbage can and a pair of throbbing newspaper stands on the street. Or how about this: the title for a show Leckey curated for the Hayward in 2013 called “The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things.” Call it “The Universal DRESSability of Dumb Things” et voila, you’re able to follow my own rhizomatic pattern of thought: 


  Let’s take that a little further. I’m a big fan of hats, and here Alessandro Michele has plugged into the cosmic energy I’ve been sending his way, a selfish plea for more millinery, please. No berets! (One has to fidget with them too much.) What did he come up with? A new take on Pharrell Williams's oversized Peruvian fedora (thanks to Vivienne Westwood), my favorite in the aforementioned sea-nymph green.

And this other veiled cappy (below), what’s that? I’m seeing influences from Tudor England all over everything else (the pearl and jeweled details on the clothing, the Henry VIII oversized shoulders) so I’m trying to place it there and find instead influence from Burgundy, 15th century, in fact, and it’s shaped too much like a vulva to be ignored:

While everyone decrees the influence of Catherine de' Medici (whom short women of the world thank as the fairy godmother of high heels), I’m sticking to my English version, the Tudors. It was Catherine, after all, who gave up the fashion of wearing underwear in preference of really long knickers. Ugh. (Michele himself says the influence was actually found in Dutch paintings.)

Leckey became famous with his nightclubbing film “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore” in 1999. He said in an interview published, quite a coincidence, at Rhizome magazine:

“What the title Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) still means to me is that to invest all your energies into something as ultimately banal and fleeting as a jeans label – Fiorucci was big in the 1970s and 1980s – creates this intensity that is transcendent, that is beyond the brand and beyond the mundane everyday. It takes you somewhere else, and that’s still where I want to go.”

That’s why I’m calling this feeling which has penetrated my inner soul ever since last summer when I first saw the new Mr Gucci’s first creations was this: “Gucci Made Me Hardcore.” It did! Alessandro Michele makes me boldly go where I would have never gone before.

14th century found object from Mark Leckey’s “The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things”

Deleuze and Guattari tell us that “the brain itself is much more a grass than a tree.” All I want to say, really, is that in our otherwise really bleak world, Leckey and Michele plunder the Wunderkammers and come out as unicorns: esoteric without being corny. Imagine that the rest of the world had these kind of renewed Renaissance brains. The brains of a burnt medieval book of laws manuscript? Backing away from the categorical tree-thinking of the Enlightenment mutated into I-don’t-know- whatness. Rootless! And here I’ll go out on a limb: No more passports. Then, and only then, would all be safe again. 

In the meanwhile, I’m trying to make my pink-suede-thin-braid headband look more Versace Fall 2016 (in 53 out of 58 looks), more Olivia Newton John. I don’t know why everyone is mismatching shoes these days, from Miu Miu to Jacquemus, to Galliano, but I am loving it and, yes: less is bore.

PS: By the way, Leckey seems to have pre-dated Gucci’s penchant for Tudor England. At the risk of looking like Elton John, look at this portrait of him wearing a pearl drop earring. It fits to Gucci’s Tudor scheme. After all, it was fashionable around 1600 for men (daring, raffish men) to wear a single earring. And that shirt. Looks like Versace. (And I later learn: it is!)

(Photograph Sarah Lee, March 2015, in The Guardian.)


 (The young tyrant, Charles the I of England, ca. 1612, based on other portraits of him at this time.)

And more Mark Leckey online here:

Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, 1999. 

For a view into his installation at the Venice Biennale and the aforementioned talking street furniture, newstand (pictured above) see

And where he imagines a talking refrigerator, “60,000 watts of power, all alone, here in the dark…” see
GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction, 2010. 

(C) 2016 April von Stauffenberg aka April Elizabeth Lamm


Popular Posts