At Gucci’s resort show in Rome yesterday, freedom was a guiding theme, including a woman’s freedom to choose when it comes to abortion.
The luxury mega-brand made support for reproductive rights an unmissable part of the large and eclectic collection it sent down the runway. Perhaps unexpectedly for an Italian label, the clothes appeared to be at least partially a response to the proposed restrictions on abortion that have cropped up in eight US states this year, a strategy activists believe is aimed at getting the US Supreme Court to hear the issue anew.
One Gucci jacket was embroidered with the numbers “22.05.1978,” referring to the date when Italy officially legalized abortion. The back of another carried the slogan “My body my choice.” A flowing dress bore a colorful uterus on the front.
The clothes and Gucci’s social-media postings also highlighted Chime For Change, a campaign the brand started in 2013 promoting gender equality.
According to The Guardian, Gucci’s artistic director, Alessandro Michele, referenced the US anti-abortion measures while speaking to reporters after the show. Women “should be free to choose what they want and terminate a pregnancy,” he said. “[It] is the most difficult choice for a woman to make and I respect that choice.”
It’s a sensitive topic for the brand to wade into. There are, of course, those who disagree with Gucci’s stance, but even some who are pro-choice might see it as a company co-opting a serious issue to sell clothes. On the other hand, consumers increasingly expect the brands they buy from to align with their own values, and more brands are making their positions clear on social and political issues.
This time, at least, if Gucci stirs up controversy it will be of its own volition. Recently the Sikh community criticized Gucci for a $790 turban it said was appropriating an article of deep religious significance, while in February the label was called out over a sweater that many saw as resembling blackface. Gucci responded to that incident by increasing its sensitivity training.