This Fall, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele finds an unlikely creative partner in an artist who dauntlessly repurposes the brand’s monogram to give new life to trash. Trevor Andrew aka ‘Gucci Ghost’ lets Noelle Loh into his New York studio for an exclusive chat on his unorthodox rise to fashion fame.
I’m in Trevor Andrew’s ‘Gucci Trap House’, a window-less,dimly-lit, shop-turned-work space in a sleepy corner of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, USA. My seat – originally a nondescript, fold able metal chair – is covered in a hand-painted network of Gucci’s double G monogram and the word ‘Real’. “Those chairs were here when we found this place – in the trash,” says Trevor,who also goes by the monikers Trouble Andrew and Gucci Ghost.“There was this huge pile in front of this studio, which used to bean old tattoo spot. We transformed it.”
Scruffy, charismatic and surprisingly gentle, he starts an impromptu tour of the other works that fill the room. A wood-framed window hand-splattered with an oversized Gucci monogram in red on our left – “I found that in Paris in the garbage and thought, ‘That’s a sick window’. Canvases are cool, but I think it’s cooler to make that window my canvas.” Further down, a plastic board swathed in the same motif, again DIY style. “This was an old sign and now it’s f**king Gucci. I’m doing a whole collection of these plexis retrieved from the old bodegas around here… the amount of change (in the neighbourhood) since I’ve been here has been crazy, so I’m trying to preserve a piece and make something out of it.
”Ever since he dressed himself in a Gucci monogram-print sheet he found for Halloween three years ago, with two cut-out holes for eyes(it’s how he got his spook of a nickname), the Canadian transplant has made this instantly-recognizable creative approach his signature.Everything from boxing gloves to vintage trunks – mostly scavenged from junk – is turned into what seem to be parodies of luxury goods through his lo-fi appropriation of the Italian label’s famous symbol.
The 37-year-old admits to an obsession with re purposing – he’s been doing so since childhood,when he frequented thrift stores with his mother. Instead of mocking Gucci though, his constant play on the double Gs is, in fact, a loving ode to the brand he dubs “the government of fashion”. “I’ve never necessarily followed fashion, but through all this imagery I’ve seen throughout my life – the people I look up to oram surrounded by all wear Gucci – the brand has always represented quality to me,” he says. “The first luxury item I bought at age 17 was a silver Gucci watch. It felt really rewarding and nice – and still does.”
This season, this alternative Warhol-meets-Banksy gets an even bigger reward. Far from slapping him with copyright infringement.
This laid-back, anything-goes approach is at the heart of Trevor’s success. His strokes are clearly untrained, and his techniques often unorthodox and unexpected, but they’re a refreshing change in an image-conscious, highly-manufactured world. Some of the prints in the collaboration, for example,started out as paintings, but were then photographed and manipulated using various phone apps – a process that was completely unplanned.
“(As an artist), I’ve always wanted immediate results. I don’t like to overthink s**t, but just feel it and do it,” he says. “That’s what I really like about the Gucci partnership – it’s just, ‘Do what you do’.”
The nature of the project also speaks volumes about Alessandro and the new era he’s ushered Gucci into since taking over the creative reins early last year. Described by press and insiders as ashy,sweet dreamer type, his romantic eye and free spirit have transformed the brand’s signatures from slinky ’70s-tinged suits and dresses to geek-chic separates and retro-infused fairy gowns.
Its aesthetic: from traditionally sexy and glamorous to youthful,colourfully eclectic, genderless and, in turn, the most democratic and desirable that it’s ever been in decades. It explains how a graffiti artist who co-opts its trademark logo can become a partner (nope, no crime here); how Gucci Ghost can come truly alive, and even get resurrected – the collaboration continues into Resort 2017.
Trevor speaks of Alessandro’s magic: “This (tie-up) adds to Gucci and brings in a new angle. We’ve created so many positive things together because I was never (seen as) stealing something from Gucci.
“I’ve seen all these ways that Alessandro brings people together to connect the dots (in fashion) and, as much as I still don’t feel directly involved in the scene, I’m understanding it so much more now. It’s crazy. Whether on social media or in real life, it seems like everybody wants to wear Gucci now because it’s speaking to a lot of different people. It’s reaching out to more than before.”