Choosing Rome – the home of the Vatican and the Catholic Church – as his stage, the Italian fashion house’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, presented a collection which carried the message of autonomy on Tuesday night.
Among a sea of folded togas, ornately embroidered gowns and Mickey Mouse motifs, Gucci drew fashion into the latest debate over abortion rights being waged in the US with a number of garments that featured phrases associated with the pro-choice movement.
The brand sent a navy jacket down the runway featuring a women’s rights slogan from the Seventies: “My body, my choice”, and a T-shirt that read: “Chime for Change” – the name of Gucci’s gender equality campaign, which was launched in 2013.
The initiative has so far funded more than 825,000 euros in projects for reproductive and maternal health in countries ranging from Afghanistan and Thailand to Uganda.
Other standout looks included a gown with an embroidered female reproductive system and pieces that read “May 22 1978” – the date the Italian law for the social protection of motherhood and legal abortion took effect.
Before the show, Michele told WWD the reason the Seventies was so intrinsic to this collection is because of the freedom the decade represented for women.
“It was a historical moment when women — finally — rejected all the constraints that were imposed in the previous centuries and they became free. That’s why I am paying homage to the Italian law regarding abortion, the law number 194,” Michele said.
“It’s unbelievable that around the world there are still people who believe that they can control a woman’s body, a woman’s choice. I will always stand behind the freedom of being, always.
“Nobody should have the right to decide about freedom of choice of any human being. No law should say to any person what to do or what not to do when it comes to very personal choices.”
Gucci’s political statement comes as eight US states have passed restrictive laws concerning access to abortion.
Earlier this month, Georgia became the fourth state this year to make abortion illegal with the so-called “heartbeat bill” – legislation which means a woman cannot terminate a pregnancy if a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks.
The strict abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest.
Thousands of women have also shared stories about having an abortion on social media using the hashtag #YouKnowMe.
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