“You’re going to Tokyo… straight after fashion month… and you’re six months pregnant….”
I didn’t consider the madness of that sentence until someone strung it together in that way, in addition to the raised eyebrows that went with it. Under any other normal circumstances, I don’t really need a rhyming reason to go to Tokyo. It is my happy place, where the simple act of going into a convenience store instantly lifts my spirits. Therefore I saw a three day jaunt to Tokyo as my last random trip hurrah, before I really have to nest up and wait for the pending arrival of Lau-Salter sprog.
I have to thank Gucci for giving me this condensed opportunity to see my favourite city one last time as a pre-motherhood freedling – or as a child at heart that is about to have a child of her own. What was the occasion? Gucci were celebrating the debut of Gucci 4 Rooms, an immersive installation featuring four artists that get carte blanche to interpret the codes of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci at their flagship store in Ginza as well as in the window of Dover Street Market nearby.
Tokyo as a location for Gucci 4 Rooms is of course a natural one, given that the current AW16 ad campaign was shot in the city amongst a backdrop of pachinko machines and dens of iniquity in Shibuya. It’s also an important market that accounts for 10% of Gucci’s revenue and it’s easy to see why. All those wonderfully adorned surfaces that Michele has been creating with their animal motifs, prints, textures and accumulative we candy fall perfectly in line with the Japanese penchant for the kawaii – I don’t mean the ‘cute’ definition of the word but more a general aesthetic that favours anything that is instantly eye-catching.
When Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzari gave his speech to introduce the exhibition, he talked about the need for a luxury house like Gucci to take risks and to look at their agenda from different angles in order to move forward. And so Gucci 4 Rooms was conceived initially as a digital only project that then became a physical one. Four artists. Four rooms. And you can experience the true essence of each artist’s intent online in the form of slick mini films and animated visuals. Guests that happened to catch the exhibition in Tokyo get the bonus backdrop of the city of course.
The Tokyo-based contemporary artist known as Mr. ‘s Gucci Garden is perhaps the most ostensibly ‘Japanese’ of all the installations as the artist Mr. is fascinated with placing the geeky otaku world within an art context. And so anime character heads roll around in amongst a manga interpretation of Gucci flora and fauna. It’s more of an urban jungle than garden as graffiti and apocalyptic messages like “Stay with me absent Tokyo-minded’ are scrawled across the walls.
Berlin-based Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota’s trapping of the Gucci Herbarium print in the form of toile de jouy covered bed and matching accessories is a mind bending maze of luminous red thread. It’s as if a game of cat’s cradle has been enlarged and engulfs anything that comes into its twine-based path. Superficially it makes for an impressive backdrop to our Gucci outfit antics, in particular the coat I wore to the party, which blended right in.
Gucci Words by Daito Manabe is an interactive experience where viewers can play pinball with Gucci pieces hanging on the wall, melding seamlessly with a digital backdrop. The ball pings around hitting bags and jackets, causing them to spin, reminiscent of the clanging noise of the arcades of Tokyo. Japanese literature on love inspired by Michele’s slogan of L’Aveugle Par Amour forms the backdrop to this surreal pinball game.
Brooklyn artist Trevor Andrew otherwise known as Trouble Andrew, of course is by now no stranger to all things Gucci as his graffitied GG and Gucci Ghost take over the window of Dover Street Market Ginza in the Elephant Room, housing an installation of his lo-fi films, Gucci Ghost accoutrements and all the accompanying merch that debuted in the AW16 collection. I in turn, got my chance to be Trouble Andrew GG’d by pretending to be a Gucci baller on not one but two nights, wearing both graffitied denim jacket and the orange fur coat for the trip.
The bits in between the serious business of appreciating the art were padded out by hanging out with my real life bezzies Bryan and Tina in Tokyo. They’re the peeps to rely on when one wants to sing karaoke in a Kigu animal suit, eat ramen AND fried chicken at 3am in the morning or go hunting for second hand Comme.
As Gucci feted their 4 Rooms with a rave-ish party at the store that was all UV walls, laser lights and glitched up video installations, which later morphed into an after party at Shibuya’s legendary Trump Rooms, Tina and Bryan were also on hand to provide the sort of japes and hi-jinx, that perhaps I’ll tell Baby Bubble about when she’s a bit older. All that remains to be said is… Tokyo, you still slay me. I’ve loved you every time I’ve seen you. Even a three day trip is a fix worth having. Next time, I will be back with a new addition. And you’ll feel completely different.
Gucci 4 Rooms on until November 27th at Gucci Ginza 7th Floor
Arrangement of some Gucci-appropriate garms in the Peninsula Hotel where we were staying
Dame Edna eyes courtesy of Gucci glasses
Draping a Gucci chain mailed hand across a course of kaiseki dinner
Karaoke is defo more fun with a) animal suits and b) a mic booth that lights up
Getting Gucci Real at the official Gucci 4 Rooms party held at the Gucci Ginza store
Tina in the Gucci Ghost UV universe at the party
Playing Mannequin outside the Gucci Ginza windows
Ending the night as most fashion parties do in Tokyo… in Trump Room