Gucci’s latest campaign emulates 1960s dance party with all-black model cast

The fashion industry has been buzzing about Gucci’s latest campaign, Soul Scene, since back in January.

Gucci Pre-Fall 2017 Campaign - Glen Luchford

The brand teased the pre-fall 2017 campaign by posting a series of Instagram videos where black models expressed what it meant to have soul. Photographed by British fashion photographer and film director Glen Luchford, Soul Scene was inspired by an exhibition called Made You Look—which showcased black masculinity and refinement—as well as a 60s movement called Northern Soul that influenced black American soul music.

It’s the general consensus of many industry leaders that Gucci’s all-black campaign is political as diversity continues to be a prominent topic in the media. While Gucci describes Soul Scene as “an exploration of the flamboyance and self-expression of men and women who challenge the conventions of society through performance, art and dance,” there are some who believe the campaign is more about exploiting a look rather than an accurate portrayal of culture.

Furthermore, brands and retailers are perpetually being scrutinized for not showcasing enough diversity, so like Gucci, others are also making changes. For example, until the end of June, Paris department store Galeries Lafayette will display an exhibition of sorts called "Africa Now" in its windows, which will include photographs of the Nigerian Lakin Ogunbanwo; black flags in which words and phrases, insolite, enigmatic or poetic, are inscribed; and an installation of Malagasy Joël Andrianomearisoa. 

Regardless of opinion, Gucci is not among the laundry list of struggling retailers. The brand’s sales growth in some regions has been in the very high double digits and is already on track to surpass sales from last year. And to solidify its commitment to diversity, the brand announced in February its partnership with Parks — Liberi e Uguali, a non-profit making organization, whose members (exclusively employers) work towards helping partner companies develop opportunities, strategies and practices that respect diversity. 

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