Spanish painter Ignasi Monreal is seeing double Gs everywhere. The artist has spent the last few years working alongside Alessandro Michele to create public and digital advertising campaigns for Gucci that feature runway clothes depicted in Renaissance-style portraiture.
“For the spring/summer 2018 images, I was working for several months straight, 14 hours a day with no free weekends,” Monreal explains. “So by the end of it I was literally having Gucci hallucinations.” Those aberrations gave way to his latest project with the Italian fashion house: a numbered, limited-edition capsule of 200 T-shirts and 100 sweatshirts printed with Monreal’s artwork from that same spring/summer 2018 campaign inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. It is aptly titled #GucciHallucination.
The collection officially launched this week, and Monreal is excited but exhausted. “The big party for the launch was a late one,” he tells Vogue with a laugh. “I’m recovering from it all, it was intense but it was amazing. This was like my love letter to painting and I enjoyed merging the realism with all of these different references from art history.”
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Monreal likes working with Gucci because it has given him the opportunity to bring the Old Masters to a much younger audience. In the same way that Gucci has broken through the boundaries of targeted luxury fashion marketing and appealed to a more diverse group of people, Monreal’s artwork is speaking to a new, visually inundated generation. As he says, “We live in a world that is so saturated with images. I will go to an art museum with someone who is young and they will just speed past the works and say, ‘Oh it’s just an old painting, who cares?’ I want to help educate them or at least get them to understand the importance of these works.”
Dressing Ophelia in Gucci logos is certainly a clever strategy and it’s one that designer Alessandro Michele has done well to promote in his time at the helm of the brand. “Gucci is more than a fashion brand at this point,” Monreal notes. “It is a part of pop culture and is instantly recognisable to those who may not have ever connected with a luxury European fashion house before.
My 13-year-old brother and his friends are obsessed with Gucci. When I was that age, I didn’t know a thing about Gucci, I was concerned with music videos.”
Michele and Monreal are a duo that has injected humour and relatability into the worlds of art and fashion. More importantly, they’ve brought them together, along with all of the other artists, meme-makers, and influencers who have lent a hand. “Alessandro is like a modern Medici,” Monreal says of his friend and collaborator. “It’s incredibly smart because he surrounds himself with so many different types of artists and image-makers. He takes risks, and without risk there is no glory.”
BY BROOKE BOBB
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.