The 70s couple Leo and Perla, pioneers of a revolutionary theatrical era, inspired new Gucci Spring/Summer collection
Text by: Fiammetta Cesana
Over the centuries, the theatre has met different subversive personalities committed to overcoming the pleasure of the spectacle as an end in itself, towards an artistic expression that could be useful for change. Starting from the Greek comedy of Aristophanes, who laid the foundation of literary criticism and of the claim to the utility of art, and who, with the character of Dionysus, suggested the viewer to become the judge of the scene and to not just perceive it passively as a moment of fun… up to Goldoni, who in the 17th century rejected the easy antics of the Commedia dell’arte, mother of Arlecchino, to promote more serious representations, the “Comedy of character”, inserted in the current social context of mercantile bourgeoisie. Then, coming to modernity, the Futurist theatre, which made a clean break at poetic level, even if it was not particularly engaging from a performative point of view… Therefore, following this revolutionary thread perpetuated in the long history of theater, Leo de Berardinis and Perla Peragallo by the end of the 60s they have given voice to the “theatre of contradiction” by providing radical alternatives to the artistic language of their time. “Primordial art of collective knowledge, of horror and joy of being, a laboratory to experiment the complexity of life in simplified situations of space and time” – Leo states defining his idea of theatre.
In a vibrant tension between ethics and politics, the two have made art a portal to social change. It is a crazy theatre, full of historical and stylistic contaminations, whose unevenness is impeccable and makes perfectly suitable the combination of fine art and popular culture. From Shakespearean to Dantesque reinterpretations, Leo and Perla gave life to the theatre of Marigliano, near Naples, gathering the so-called “geopolitical” actors, that are local people embodying the stereotype of the outsiders. Breaking up every boundary of genre and discipline, this unforgettable couple has created a multifaceted theatre, made up of dramatic and comic stories, linguistic and existential synergies.
Although living in a system which is apparently illogical and unstructured, each element on the stage reveals intellectual precision and attention to detail, from music, to costumes and choreographies, expressing desire for innovation and change. Similarly, the new Gucci collection, presented at the Parisian theatre Le Palace, celebrates Leo and Perla’s artistic heritage with a pamphlet of colorful dresses, mixing styles and historical references. From the classic trenches and blouses, the long evening dresses combined with slippers worn with socks, the sequined trousers, floral shirts, turtleneck and jacket from the 70s with large black mask sunglasses, 80s fluo jumpsuit, up to accessories like turbans, tiaras, GG necklaces, and bags with fruit prints … In short, a majestic buffet of fashion genres that, in their absurdity and apparent dissonance, are enjoyed as a new way to capture the intensity of the whole through its diverse components.
Leo and Perla’s explosive script and scenography comes back to life thanks to the maison’s imaginary, which after almost 70 years, once again challenges the canons of art and, by combining fashion with theater, reminds us how many developments in history have changed the modes to express ourselves, aesthetically and socially.