Gucci’s new Tian print began as a culmination of hummingbirds, dragonflies, butterflies, and flowers inspired by 10th-century Chinese tapestries. Now, it dances behind a sulky feline in a short video, it is brought to life through performance art that mixes hip hop with Beijing Opera, and frames photographs of rooms full of taxidermy. Its reinvention is thanks to part two of the Italian fashion house’s latest social media campaign, #GucciGram, inviting artists from around the world to take a signature Gucci style and run with it.
The brainchild of Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, #GucciGram has exploded into a culmination of animation, illustration, even physical products through a combination of commissioned and non-commissioned work curated on Instagram. In this edition of #GucciGram, Michele gathered Asian artists to contribute, and a significant portion hailed from China. In this way, the Tian print comes full circle—it was influenced by the Chinese painters who started it all, like Huang Quan and Xu Xi, before being left to emerging contemporary artists gaining steam in Asia for their work across a wide variety of mediums.
“Nowhere” – Cao Fei for #GucciGram Tian 曹斐的作品与她的Instagram一样多姿多彩，包括艺廊艺术装置摄影、都市随影，亦窥探了她在中国工作室的日常生活以及她游历世界各地的所见所闻。曹斐利用她的作品，包括影片、艺术装置以及互动数码媒体，剖析了自己的祖国在过去数十年的发展，并揭示了当中部分问题。她凭着作品「人民城寨」而一举成名，那是她为网络游戏「第二人生」所创造的虚拟场景，也是现今中国的缩影。曹斐为全新的Gucci Tian拖鞋注入了一片颓败的都市景象，将中国百年传统的花鸟图与现代工业化的中国形成强烈对比。— @kchayka Cao Fei’s (@cao_fei) artistic practice is as manifold as her Instagram, which pictures installation shots from galleries, snapshots from cities, and sneak peeks into the daily life of her studio in China, as well as her travels all over the world. Cao has used her art, ranging from video to installation and interactive digital worlds, to break down her country’s growth over the past decades, exposing some of its problems. She has become famous for “RMB City,” a virtual landscape created in the video game “Second Life” that is a synecdoche for China itself. Cao places #GucciTian inspired traditional slippers in a rundown urban landscape, contrasting the centuries-old heritage of Bird and Flower paintings with the current state of industrialized China. — @kchayka See more #GucciGram through link in bio.
Artists involved include Guangzhou-born Cao Fei, who uses the Tian print on a pair of handmade slippers that she photographs against the backdrop of a Chinese street, juxtaposing luxury with industrial development. Artist Gu Ye takes a break from his fascination with Western art to combine the Tian print with a traditional Chinese image. Chinese fashion illustrator Guo Yong, also known as Acnestories, utilizes the symbols from the Tian print to dress stylish characters from his imagination.
Guo Yong for #GucciGram Tian 中国时尚插画家郭永的创作风格流畅、细腻、优美，在视觉上完美无瑕。人物感觉像是速绘而成，往往只有眼睛或鼻子，这里一点那里一笔，却都恰到好处。细致入微的服饰细节和浪漫的色调令郭永的画可以完美融入Wes Anderson充满可爱、神经质角色的电影中。以这件作品为例：四位风格各异年轻男士并肩站在GucciTian图案的拱形之下，搭配着些许配饰。其中一位宛如光鲜的建筑师，戴了一副眼镜和打了结的围巾；另一位比较粗犷，长发及肩，身上满布纹身。尽管他们身上的衣物不多，但每个人物都瞬间建立了时尚身份，证明了无论是艺术还是衣物，有时候“少即是多”。— @tatianaberg The Chinese fashion illustrator Guo Yong, also known as Acnestories, works in a style that is smooth, subtle, and charming—not a blemish in sight. Figures look quickly sketched out, featuring a mere suggestion of eyes or a nose with a well-placed dot here, a squiggled line there. Full of sartorial detail and imbued with a romantic color scheme, Acnestories’s drawings would fold seamlessly into a Wes Anderson movie with their cute, neurotic characters. Take his Gucci riff, for example: four different young men stand shoulder-to-shoulder underneath an arc of the #GucciTian pattern, bare-chested. One figure looks like a polished architect with his glasses and jauntily knotted scarf, while another is tough, with shoulder-length hair and covered in tattoos. Despite not having much in the way of clothing, each character has a distinct fashion identity, proving that when it comes to both art and clothes, sometimes less is still more. — @tatianaberg See more #GucciGram through link in bio.
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While the campaign mostly takes place on Instagram, fans can also check out the artwork on Gucci’s special website, which includes detailed explanations about the work and the artist in both English and Chinese. Some of the artists are also posting the work on their WeChat and Weibo accounts, which is likely giving Gucci some extra exposure in China—the brand itself has been featuring the campaign on its WeChat across three separate posts, with the first dedicated solely to its Chinese artists.