Beaten & Blown by the Wind is Gucci’s latest limited-edition art book, conceived as a result of Alessandro Michele’s creative vision and shot in Rome by American photographer Bruce Gilden. The book contains a selection of street portraits, and features imagery of the Pre-Fall 2020 Collection designed by Alessandro Michele. It is the striking expression of a special collaboration between the photographer and Gucci’s Creative Director.
‘Bruce is a beautiful person with a poetic gaze on humanity,’ says Alessandro Michele. ‘We share the same passion for faces and an obsession with expressions, personalities and looks. I am a great collector of portraits because the human figure is central to me. Working with a photographer means seeing through someone else’s eyes and it was wonderful to see through Bruce’s eyes. I felt like I was looking at things under a microscope in a science laboratory.’
'I had never made a book in this way before, which I viewed as a photographic challenge, and the end result is a truly creative collaboration with Alessandro Michele,’ says Bruce Gilden. ‘Having Rome as the backdrop was great, the city really inspires me — the beauty of the architecture and its age and watching how the Roman people move around their unique surroundings, as well as discovering the statues in the park high above Rome that mix with beautiful clouds, and the panorama of the city below… it all lent itself for some good pictures.’
In high contrast black and white, these images paint a picture of the city’s humanity in all its variety. Old and young, many wearing Gucci, this idiosyncratic cast of characters is portrayed in unforgiving close-up, and lit by harsh flash. Among those featured, along with citizens of Rome, are Italian musician Achille Lauro, Italian actress and model Benedetta Barzini, and American fashion model and advocate Bethann Hardison. The mood is brooding and stark, and the portraits are interspersed with details of the city observed through Gilden’s curious lens.
‘The design and layout of the book fits my photographic style and the experience I had making the images perfectly,’ says the photographer. ‘Rome and its people got to me in a good way; I would like to go back and shoot them more thoroughly. I could even imagine living there.’
The art book comes in a format that takes its inspiration from vintage tomes, its luxurious feel standing in marked contrast to the earthy reality of its contents. The photographs are printed on textured off-white paper, and the title is covered in red velvet with gold foil lettering.
Distributed by IDEA Books, the London-based independent publisher, the book will also be available at Gucci Garden in Florence and the Gucci Wooster Bookstore in New York.