Kristen McMenamy Stars in Gucci’s Sex-Infused Aria Campaign


Gucci has unveiled its psycho-sensual campaign for the Fall/Winter 2021 “Aria” collection in honor of the Italian house’s 100th anniversary. Spanning 22 pages with over 16 models, performers, and talents, Gucci’s latest campaign is visualized in an exclusive print partnerships celebrating the house’s centenary.

Last spring, Gucci invited Balenciaga to “hack” the atelier, and vice versa, in an exciting collaboration that resulted in rich color and texture, glittering embellishment, sleek silhouettes, and a futuristic-equestrian vibe. The cinematic campaign, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, is based off the Greek god Eros (known as Cupid in Roman mythology), son of Aphrodite and the god of sexual attraction and powerful desire, where his “revolutionary and joyful impetus” is “the creative force behind contemporary imagery.”

His birth “drives the desire through the attempt to mend a separation,” said Alessandro Michele, who creative directed the campaign. “The myth, in fact, identifies in the relationship with the ‘Other’ the vital impulse that obliges each of us to restore a lost unity. It’s a pulsive magnet through which the ‘Inner Self’ opens up to the world and the flesh confesses what went missing. Under such spell, the desire builds a combinative art made of recompositions that goes beyond identity, gender, orientation, preferences, practices, tastes.”

The story of “Aria” connects the mind and body, where models are seen reading essays and books on topics relating to culture, sex, and more more, such as: “Simulacra and Simulation” by Jean Baudrillard, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility” by Walter Benjamin, “Bodies that Matter” by Judith Butler, “Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex” by Sigmund Freud, and “Sexistence” by Jean-Luc Nancy. The collection notes an “Ontology of Desire” in five categories: Androgyny, Eros, Body, Clothes, Philosophy.

“The clothes we wear perfectly stick to our skin, and more, they are its extension somehow. It is the skin we decide to live in that has the power to define who we want to be. It is an identity artifact, but also an epidermic prosthesis that catapults us in the erotic game of life. This is when the clothes transform the temple of Eros into a huge boudoir shook by the telluric force of desire. The rustle of clothing sings the doors open on the mysterious theater of the attraction.”

Philosophy is a central theme, as Alessandro believes knowledge itself is an object of desire. “The books of Freud, Nancy, and Butler describe the universe of desire, and more, they become objects of attraction themselves. The epistemic subject becomes an insatiable lover. Even words are clothes that we decide to wear, after all. Clothes that tie again mind and body in an erotic weaving that connects us to the flesh of the world.”

The story of ‘Aria’ extends to a seductive campaign film that illustrates themes of lust, voyeurism, fetish, and intimate secrets. The band Måneskin and model Kristen McMenamy star in the film, art directed by Christopher Simmonds, as Madonna’s performance of Leon Ware and Arthur Ross’ “I Want You,” plays in the background.

Watch the full campaign video below.

Creative Director Alessandro Michele

Art Director Christopher Simmonds

Photographers and Directors Mert and Marcus

Makeup Diane Kendal

Hair Paul Hanlon


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