After a series of social justice mis-steps, luxury retail brand Gucci is apparently trying to find its way back into the good graces of the progressive left.
The Associated Press reports that Gucci's Cruise 2020 collection, which debuted to a "VIP audience" this week in Rome, was themed around the subject of abortion and included abortion rights-themed clothing, including a jacket and a dress emblazoned with pro-abortion slogans.
"The collection...featured a purple jacket with the slogan “My Body, My Choice” on the back, and a sweater emblazoned with the date “May 22, 1978,” marking the day that abortion became legal in Italy," AP says.
The brand's creative director, Alessandro Michele, says the theme is no coincidence. He was "inspired," he says, by the sudden pro-life resurgence in the United States and news that at least four states — Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Louisiana — are heavily restricting the brutal practice.
The restrictions, Michele said, "made me consider how much women should be highly respected."
“Sometimes in life choices are difficult, but I believe that it is the most difficult decision for a woman. I respect that decision. I respect that decision as I respect the idea that the uterus is a garden," Michele told reporters. “I wanted to portray the idea that to interrupt a pregnancy does not wipe out the garden, the flower, that is the uterus of every woman."
The show itself was themed after a "bacchanal" on the lower streets of London, and models cavorted through a set made to look like a hidden party where "anything goes" — no doubt a nod to the overarching "sexual freedom" Gucci wanted to portray with its 2020 Cruise line.
Gucci is hardly the first brand to capitalize on the consumer appeal of modern feminism. Luxury line Alice & Olivia and designer Prabal Gurung have both made "feminist" tee shirts, and Christian Dior sent a shirt down the runway several years ago emblazoned with the words, "We should all be feminists." Online boutique Net-a-Porter launched a "feminist pop-up" for International Women's Day, featuring designs from kuxury labels like Victoria Beckham, Zadig & Voltaire, Chloe, and Donna Karan New York.
At the height of faux-feminist consumerism, Elle UK even debuted a shirt that read, "this is what a feminist looks like," only to discover — ironically — that the company manufacturing the tees was using sweatshops manned largely by women where workers earned less than $1 per hour, worked 12 hour days slumped over sewing machines, and "slept 16 to a room," according to the Huffington Post.
Gucci, though, might be the first brand cynical enough to use consumer feminism as a path back into the hearts of social justice warriors with enough disposable income to purchase an $800 jacket or $2000 dress. The brand had been pushed into the margins recently after a series of social mis-steps, culminating in the release of an $890 sweater that appeared to replicate blackface.