Pro-Choice Fashion Features at Politically Charged Gucci Cruise Collection

Stephen Jaffe/Courtesy of Gucci

In light of recent moves to ban abortion in some U.S. states, the Italian fashion house sent a strong message on which side of the debate it stands on with its clothes and with activist actresses Salma Hayek and Zoe Saldana seated in the front row.

Even with Harry Styles in the front row in a bright white suit, it was moody and mysterious at Gucci's cruise collection Tuesday night in Rome. Models stalked around the antiquities of Musee Capitolini in near darkness, but designer Alessandro Michele made it clear he wanted to shed light on political issues.

With activist actresses Salma Hayek and Zoe Saldana in the seats, Michele called attention to reproductive rights with the “My body, My choice” slogan across the back of a blue blazer, references to Italy's abortion law stitched on shirts and some models walking with Gucci gags drawn across their mouths. A boho dress had a sparkly uterus embroidered on the outside, and the revamped Chime for Change logo, which supports gender equality, was front-and-center on sunshine yellow sweaters.

Though the brand has been criticized for cultural appropriation, most recently for a Sikh-inspired turban, Michele showed he still has no qualms about religious references. Women wore clerical collars and wide-brimmed Roman clergy hats.

Still, the Italian's maximalist style stayed true to the 1970s aesthetic we've come to expect, with a few twists such as men in dresses (what Michele called “pagan” togas), Mickey Mouse sweaters, jingling glittery gypsy skirts and plaid cape coats mixing it up. Styles himself was in on the gender-bend, carrying a sparkly clutch when he posed for photos on the front steps.

There were plenty of sequins, fluffy faux furs and a few glam rock references to Elton John through oversized eyewear — fitting as Michele provided some costumes for the upcoming Rocketman biopic. And who if not Elton embodies the spirit of the swinging '70s? Maybe the Gypsy girl herself, Stevie Nicks. She performed at the afterparty alongside Styles.

On the other side of the globe, Giorgio Armani showed his very first cruise collection in Tokyo with Uma Thurman front-row. Usually loath to take his collections abroad, the Italian was celebrating the reopening of his headquarters there. 

In Armani's typically 'go big or go home' style, the show featured a whopping 121 looks. His deep Japanese influences have always been on display — after all, he usually holds his Paris shows at the Palais de Tokyo — but here they were less literal than the obi belts and bamboo prints of recent collections.

Fluid suits and pleated skirts were presented in a muted color palate of slates and smokey blues, before Armani moved on to royal blues with pops of ruby. It was heavy on slouchy velvet and chunky carved accessories, unusual for a summer collection, and the odd leather harness is probably best left to Kim Jones at Dior. The gents were turned out in more tailored suiting, with sea foam silk vests and cream jackets topped with panama hats that wouldn't look out of place in a 1940s spy film.