Last week in Milan, Gucci and multifunctional design space Spazio Maiocchi launched an exhibition to celebrate 70 years of the iconic Gucci Horsebit Loafer. Opting for a presentation-cum-gallery instead of a runway show for the Spring-Summer Men’s Collection, ‘Gucci Horsebeat Society’ hosted a range of buzzy artists curated by Alessio Ascari from around the globe as the framework for the collection.
We entered the expansive Spazio Maiocchi through a deep purple tunnel adorned with lifesize silver Horsebits and mylar Gucci G interlocking balloons lining the ceiling before arriving in the courtyard. Conceived by Brooklyn-based Russian architect and multi-media artist Harry Nuriev from Crosby Studios, the bright courtyard had all the elements of conceptual patio space with unassuming details: a reflecting pool, silver leather sling chairs with Horsebits, and a DJ booth where legendary characters from Parisian electronic music label Ed Banger floated throughout the evening. Italian visual artist Anna Franceschini’s ‘cabinet of curiosities’ was giving funhouse in the courtyard, highlighting pieces from the Gucci archives arranged playfully, some moving a tad suggestively.
Inside, the main gallery space featured a theatrical dining room with a long wavy table affixed with human legs wearing various Horsebit loafers by American sculptor Pitterpatter with a portrait gallery of fantastical creatures wearing Gucci ready-to-wear by Canada’s own Blatant Space. While guests filtered throughout the space Spanish artist and choreographer Candela Capitán executed a performance that featured models dressed in nude tops and Horsebit loafers tumbling repetitively over and over on the soft Horsebit carpet.
Extending into the cinema room, British photographer and filmmaker Bolade Banjo combined historical and contemporary Horsebit footage tracing its iconic lineage. Guests lay on giant floor pillows with hanji paper light sculptures created by South Korean designer Gyuhan Lee hung above. After a chill photo session on the pillows, we headed over to the bedroom space resisting the urge to stroke Sylvie Fleury’s 1998 Bedroom Ensemble II, the only historical work in the exhibition. Framed by custom Horsebit-patterned wallpaper and a wall-to-wall photo of a white horse by Charlie Engman, the bright bedroom space centred around a red Horsebit pump from Tom Ford’s iconic 1995 Fall-Winter collection.
Finally, on the other side of the gallery space, the closet space, fitted with floor-to-ceiling wallpaper designed by Australian image-maker Ed Davis, housed the Spring-Summer 2024 Men’s collection bringing Aldo Gucci’s 1953 loafer into the future with loud avant-guard silhouettes, textures and prints.
Check out some photos from the exhibition below and follow along at Men’s Fashion Month on Instagram.