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Gucci’s latest collection revealed in series of films by Gus Van Sant | Fashion

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The fashion designer Alessandro Michele, having cancelled Gucci’s catwalk shows during the pandemic, needed a way to showcase his latest collection. The director Gus Van Sant, faced with a film world placed on pause by the closure of cinemas worldwide, needed a new creative project.

Like so many others in 2020, the two found that lockdown life revolves around small screen entertainment. Instead of being paraded along a catwalk, the new Gucci collection is being revealed via a seven-part miniseries for which Van Sant, whose career includes two best director nominations at the Academy Awards, for Good Will Hunting and Milk, travelled to Rome for a 20-day shoot.

The seven episodes of Ouverture of Something That Never Ended follow the eccentric and flamboyantly dressed Silvia, played by Silvia Calderoni, through an esoteric daily routine including a trip to the post office, a shopping spree in a vintage store in Rome and encounters with the pop star Harry Styles and the writer and philosopher Paul B Preciado, who make cameo appearances.

Gus Van Sant and Alessandro Michele.



Gus Van Sant and Alessandro Michele. Photograph: Paige Powell

“I want to set clothes free,” said Michele during a Zoom press conference. “I don’t want fashion to be imprisoned in shops any more.”

The first episode features Calderoni performing a series of morning stretches in front of the television dressed in an elaborate black lace pyjama set, before changing into a floor-length gown in pastel-toned rainbow stripes and a coordinating pink sequinned bonnet.

The flamboyant wardrobe is a radical departure from the understated aesthetic of previous Van Sant films such as My Own Private Idaho, in which Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix wore simple hoodies and leather jackets. For his 2003 film Elephant, Van Sant asked the cast to wear their own clothes.

“GucciFest” replaces fashion week with the format of a virtual film festival, hosted on YouTube. Instead of embossed show invitations, fashion editors were sent the lanyards and printed programmes in branded cotton tote bags.

Each episode of the mini-series will be bookended by advert-length mini-films showcasing the work of up-and-coming designers. In this way Michele hopes to mirror the “halo effect” of fashion week, during which the pulling power of major brands such as Gucci brings a captive audience who are then introduced to the work of independent creatives.

The pandemic has seen film “sucked into the computer screen”, said Van Sant at the press conference. While other fashion brands have diversified from catwalk shows into filmed storytelling – Luca Guadagnino, acclaimed for Call Me By Your Name, has directed a biopic of the shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo which debuted at the Venice film festival recently – Gucci’s collaboration with Van Sant is notable for the episodic format, which Netflix and other streaming services have made increasingly central to today’s culture.

The Van Sant mini-series continues Gucci’s drive to insert itself into the cultural conversation about gender and identity. Gucci does not distinguish between menswear and womenswear on the catwalk, and the characters in the film deliberately evade being signposted as being either male or female. Calderoni is highly regarded for her gender-blurring performance art in off-Broadway productions such as 2016’s MDLSX – the name alludes to Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex.


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What working from home has taught me about my partner and, worse, myself | Relationships

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How has Covid affected our intimate lives? I’m not talking about sex – my family have suffered enough – but has the unrelenting closeness of this year opened or closed up faultlines in our relationships?

It’s complicated. I am, for instance, writing this on the sofa and not at my desk in the bedroom, because my husband is having a siesta with the dog. As an intolerant and prickly cohabitee, I have mixed feelings about this: it’s irritating (I want the desk), a relief (an hour of silence) and delightful (I love this newfound canine-human closeness).

The emotional barometer of intimate relationships fluctuates constantly, but my experience of corona cohabitation is a rapid, perpetual spin cycle of emotion: profound gratitude, irritation, guilt, euphoric love, then: “Why are you doing lunges next to my desk?”

This dovetails with Relate’s account of Covid “turbo-relationships”. Apparently, couples have ticked off milestones at warp speed this year, both as an expedient, given the constraints of quarantine and because global catastrophe has a clarifying effect on your emotions. Pandemic whirlwind romances were like the swift courtships and weddings of wartime, except that your new beloved did not disappear to the western front: they went no further than the sofa, where they cut their toenails over your unread New Yorker.

Even for established couples, 2020 is cohabitation on boost. A discussion on sex and the pandemic in Nature notes that “fewer opportunities for independent activities or time apart” can create a situation where “intimacy collapses into fusion”. My husband used to travel constantly. Now he sometimes rides his bike to Lidl. No wonder he got excited recently when he thought I was wearing a new woolly hat (I wasn’t: it was a trick of the light).

But even after 26 years, Covid life has thrown up surprises: we have been intrigued particularly to discover the disparities in our working styles. His weekdays are 95% speakerphone calls while pacing and 5% loudly teasing the dog. Mine are spent in sepulchral, ideally uninterrupted silence, wrapped in a blanket: like Whistler’s painting of his mother, but with a laptop. He has found out that I like from eight to 10 small meals daily, like a toddler, a fact I have concealed for years (he is French, and French people do not snack). I note with alarm his tendency to speak his mind bluntly in professional settings instead of nourishing bitter, never-expressed grievances and sending overly polite emails, as is the British way. We must never be colleagues.

Worse than anything I have discovered about him have been the revelations about myself. I am horrified to find out that I am someone who hides food they fancy and who turns recycling into an exquisitely pointed act of passive aggression. I had no idea how viscerally I loathe repetitive movement and most domestic noises: this year I’m Daniel Day-Lewis in that terrible sewing film The Phantom Thread, violently pained by the normal soundtrack of life.

It’s miraculous my partner puts up with me, but he does. We all do, mainly. Despite the provocations, most relationships have weathered, or even thrived in, the corona spin cycle. In a survey, the Open University found that 26% of respondents thought their relationship had improved since Covid; fewer than one in 10 thought it had worsened. With some awful exceptions (the domestic violence figures are absolutely chilling), 2020 has mainly been a time of domestic forbearance and forgiveness, of realising how lucky we are to love and be loved.

Let me, however, share one freshly gleaned piece of pandemic relationship advice: this is no time to do an exfoliating foot peel. I did one recently: you put your feet in plastic bags full of alarming chemicals and your gross dead skin peels off to reveal baby-fresh extremities. Unable to deal with this depravity alone as God intended, this week – and I apologise if you are of a sensitive disposition – my hapless attempts to deal with the skin situation meant my poor husband accidentally picked up a plate full of my foot sloughings. He has endured so much already; let’s pray he can get back to the office before I find something even worse to subject him to.


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The Christmas gift guide: 100 great ideas for all budgets | Life and style

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Under £10

Candy Kittens vegan wild strawberry sweet jar

Candy Kittens vegan wild strawberry sweet jar


£7.00, waitrose.com

Space projector torch

Space projector torch


£5.99, shop.mariecurie.org.uk

Rainbow Stripe Hat (0 months – 2 years)

Rainbow Stripe Hat


£6.00, next.co.uk

Vinyl record pizza cutter

Vinyl record pizza cutter


£7.95, rexlondon.com

Editor’s pick: Striped socks
‘A traditional gift that will help create jobs in deprived areas’

Striped socks


£4.00, communityclothing.co.uk

Clothes peg reading light

Clothes peg reading light


£8.99, iwantoneofthose.com

Nick Cave notebook

Nick Cave notebook


£10.00, cavethings.com

Lulu Guinness x Charlotte Mei green rabbit socks

Lulu Guiness x Charlotte Mei green rabbit socks


£8.00, luluguinness.com

Recycled toiletries bag

Recycled toiletries bag


£8.00, hema.com

The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q Raúf

The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Rauf


£6.99, childrensbookshoplondon.com

Crayon rocks (8)

Crayon rocks


£7.00, kidly.co.uk

Q&A beauty cracker

Q&A beauty cracker


£5.50, qandaskin.com

Drag Queens playing cards

Drag Queens playing cards


£9.99, laurenceking.com

Seed bombs (native wildflowers and grasses)

Seed bombs


£8.50, blackbeehoney.com

Michael Clark poster

Michael Clark poster


£5.00, shop.barbican.org.uk

£25 and under

Gwen multicoloured gem hair clip

Gwen multicoloured gem hair clip


£12.50, oliverbonas.com

Poo Bingo

Poo Bingo


£16.99, laurenceking.com

Casa Cubista terracotta handmade jug

Casa Cubista terracotta handmade jug


£20.00, lusophile.co.uk

Rubies in the Rubble Christmas relish gift set (vegan)

Relish gift set


£12.00, rubiesintherubble.com

Traditional seaweed bath (vegan and cruelty-free)

Traditional seaweed bath (vegan and cruelty-free)


£18.00, haeckels.co.uk

Lavender, frankincense and chamomile room and pillow mist (vegan)

Lavender, frankincense and chamomile room and pillow mist (vegan)


£17.00, pigletinbed.com

Glossier hand cream

Glossier hand cream


£16.00, glossier.com

Foxed (Tipsy) tea towel

Foxed (Tipsy) Tea Towel


£15.00, themerchantstable.co.uk

Japanese cleansing cloud (suitable for vegetarians)

Japanese cleansing cloud (suitable for vegetarians)


£12.00, victoriahealth.com

Rocket girl refillable lip balm compact

Rocket girl refillable lip balm compact


£15.00, andreagarland.co.uk

L’Oxygéné vegan nail polish in Dial M for Maroon

L’Oxygéné vegan nail polish in Dial M for Maroon


£15.00, nailberry.co.uk

Princess socks by Bonne Maison

Princess socks by Bonne Maison


£17.00, anthropologie.com

Bookman Block bike light (front and rear)

Bookman Block bike light


£17.80, bookman.se

Selfridges Morphe 35B colour burst artistry palette

Selfridges Morphe 35B colour burst artistry palette


£24.00, selfridges.com

Starface hydro stars spot stickers

Starface hydro stars spot stickers


£12.00, starface.world

Lion night light

Lion night light


£24.50, kidly.co.uk

House of Glass, by Hadley Freeman

House Of Glass, by Hadley Freeman


£14.78, guardianbookshop.com

The Bedside Guardian 2020

The Bedside Guardian 2020


£11.99, guardianbookshop.com

Cook, Eat, Repeat, by Nigella Lawson

Cook, Eat, Repeat, by Nigella Lawson


£22.10, guardianbookshop.com

Flavour, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage

Flavour, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage


£22.95, guardianbookshop.com

Short Walks In Beautiful Places

Short Walks In Beautiful Places


£12.99, shop.nationaltrust.org.uk

From Beder’s Kitchen (a charity cookbook of celebrity recipes to raise awareness of mental health)

From Beder’s Kitchen


£22.00, beder.org.uk

Wild Child: Coming Home To Nature, by Patrick Barkham

Wild Child: Coming Home To Nature, by Patrick Barkham


£14.44, guardianbookshop.com

Black And British: A Forgotten History, by David Olusoga

Black And British: A Forgotten History, by David Olusoga


£12.99, shop.bristolmuseums.org.uk

News And How To Use It, by Alan Rusbridger

News And How To Use It, by Alan Rusbridger


£16.52, guardianbookshop.com

Large Orange Abstract Sketchbook 80 Sheets

Large Orange Abstract Sketchbook 80 Sheets


£11.00, hobbycraft.co.uk

The Lying Life Of Adults, by Elena Ferrante

The Lying Life Of Adults, by Elena Ferrante


£18.60, uk.bookshop.org

£50 and under

White Mausu Little Mix condiments gift box

White Mausu Little Mix condiments gift box


£36.00, whitemausu.com

Ealing gin, made in London by a husband-and-wife team, with 20% of profits going to charities supporting the socially isolated

Ealing gin


£44.50, ealingdistillery.co.uk

Men’s fashion editor Helen Seamons’ pick: Reversible scarf, made in Manchester
‘If you’re looking for a gift that gives back, Wawwa donates one scarf for every one purchased’

Reversible scarf, made in Manchester


£30.00, wawwaclothing.com

The original den kit

The Original Den Kit


£40.00, joules.com

Sustainable beanie

Sustainable beanie


£35.00, asket.com

I Can Make You Feel Good, fashion photography book by Tyler Mitchell, who shot Beyoncé’s US Vogue cover

I Can Make You Feel Good, fashion photography book by Tyler Mitchell


£45.00, waterstones.com

Sheepskin love bird slippers

Sheepskin love bird slippers


£48.00, thesmallhome.co.uk

Port in a Storm organic sleep shorts

Organic sleep shorts


£29, loveyawn.com

Fashion stylist Melanie Wilkinson’s pick: Belt bag
‘Perfect for outdoor roaming, a recycled belt bag will liven up your winter woollens’

Belt bag


£39.00, cosstores.com

Beauty columnist Sali Hughes’s pick: Boy Smells gender neutral candle
‘My favourite new candle brand’

Boy Smells gender neutral candle


£36.00, spacenk.com

Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

Biossance 100% Squalane Oil


£27.00, cultbeauty.co.uk

Sali Hughes’s pick: Mattetrance lipstick in Elson 2
‘Not too orange, not too pink – this is a perfect festive red’

Mattetrance lipstick in Elson 2


£36.00, patmcgrath.com

Set of 10 personalised note cards

Set of 10 personalised note cards


£40.00, memopress.co.uk

Susanne Kaufmann Winter bath oil

Susanne Kaufmann Winter bath oil


£47.00, mrporter.com

Lightweight yoga mat

Lightweight yoga mat


£42.95, yogi-bare.co.uk

Maison Matine Warni Warni Eau De Parfum 50ml

Maison Matine Warni Warni Eau De Parfum


£50.00, harveynichols.com

Cotton zig-zag socks

Cotton zig-zag socks


£20.00, genevievesweeney.com

Food writer Meera Sodha’s pick: Noble Rot: Wine From Another Galaxy, by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew
‘This should help you unravel the secrets of the good stuff’

Noble Rot: Wine From Another Galaxy, by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew


£30.00, shop.noblerot.co.uk

Djeco Teepee Play Tent

Djeco Teepee Play Tent


£48.95, tickety-boo.co.uk

Piglet x Woolovers sheepskin mule slippers

Piglet x Woolovers sheepskin mule slippers


£42.00, pigletinbed.com

Cartoonist Stephen Collins’s pick: Tile Bluetooth tracker
‘I have one taped to every remote control: they have improved my life greatly’

Tile Bluetooth tracker


£47.99, thetileapp.com

£100 and under

Roller skates in sky blue (vegan)

Roller skates in sky blue (vegan)


£99.95, impalarollerskates.eu

Level Up gaming headphones in silver

Level Up gaming headphones in silver


£99.99, metersmusic.com

Japanese secateurs

Japanese secateurs


£80.00, genus.gs

Morphée meditation sleep sound box

Morphée meditation sleep sound box


£79.95, morphee.co

Dashel ReCycle bike helmet, made with recyclable foam

Dashel ReCycle bike helmet, made with recyclable foam


£79.00, brompton.com

Gaucho tech roll

Gaucho tech roll


from £59, mantidy.co.uk

Styling editor Melanie Wilkinson’s pick: Linen pyjama set
‘Naturally breathable flax pyjamas are the ideal nighttime companion’

Linen pyjama set


£100.00, pigletinbed.com

100% recycled backpack

100% recycled backpack


£76.00, everlane.com

Handmade silver and pearl earrings

Handmade silver and pearl earrings


£95.00, lovenesslee.com

Embroidered cotton collar

Embroidered cotton collar


£75.00, rixo.co.uk

Smart Garden 3 by Click & Grow

Smart Garden 3 by Click & Grow


£95.00, conranshop.co.uk

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Bluetooth Waterproof Portable Speaker, Unicorn

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Bluetooth Waterproof Portable Speaker


£99.00, johnlewis.com

Parra broken bike sweater

Parra broken bike sweater


£90.00, theunionproject.com

Oval and circle print by David Hardy (unframed)

Oval and circle print by David Hardy


£90.00, partnershipeditions.com

Carafe and glass in amber

Carafe and glass in amber


£65.00, pentreath-hall.com

Chiara Perano Negroni print

Chiara Perano Negroni print


£55.00, shop.ciao-chiara.com

ROOP Furoshiki satin bag

ROOP Furoshiki satin bag


£75.00, selfridges.com

Vacuum coffee jug

Vacuum coffee jug


£80.00, skandium.com

Espresso coffee machine with milk frother

Espresso coffee machine with milk frother


£100.00, johnlewis.com

Slip pure silk pillowcase in pink agate

Slip pure silk pillowcase in pink agate


£85.00, lookfantastic.com

Infinity and beyond

Multicoloured patchwork quilt, exclusive to the V&A

Multicoloured patchwork quilt, exclusive to the V&A


£325.00, vam.ac.uk

Roberts Radio Bluetooth speaker

Roberts Radio Bluetooth speaker


£149.99, robertsradio.com

Type 80 Anglepoise lamp in pistachio green

Type 80 Anglepoise lamp in pistachio green


£199.00, heals.com

Swiss stability ball in Desert Edition

Swiss stability ball in Desert Edition


£129.00, baola.co

Jamieson’s of Shetland men’s stripe crew knit jumper

Jamieson’s of Shetland men’s stripe crew knit jumper


£129.00, endclothing.com

Poconos triangle scarf

Poconos triangle scarf


€145, electronicsheep.com

Minnie Mae Stott column of strength lamp base

Minnie Mae Stott column of strength lamp base


£164.00, minniemae.co.uk

Recycled cord trainers

Recycled cord trainers


£120.00, goodnews.london

Salt candle in handblown glass

Salt candle in handblown glass


£125.00, perfumerh.com

Amoeba medallion cushion

Amoeba medallion cushion


£128.00, uk.jonathanadler.com

Mini Doric Earring in purified and recycled sterling silver

Mini Doric Earring in purified and recycled sterling silver


£113.89, kinraden.com

Mister Marvelous eau de parfum

Mister Marvelous eau de parfum


£170.00, byredo.com

AKG Y500 wireless headphones

AKG Y500 wireless headphones


£129.00, selfridges.com

Green Grove Weavers mohair prismatic throw

Green Grove Weavers mohair prismatic throw


£175.00, shop.royalacademy.org.uk

La Double J, Goddess Demeter square porcelain plate

La Double J, Goddess Demeter square porcelain plate


£115.00, matchesfashion.com

Pampa Lite + recycled WP boots in firecracker

Pampa Lite + recycled WP boots in firecracker


£105.00, palladiumboots.co.uk

Skin Design London Vitamin C Serum

Skin Design London Vitamin C Serum


£115.00, cultbeauty.co.uk


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How we met: ‘I stood there awkwardly, then told her I’d been bitten by a duck’ | Relationships

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When Emma Naks graduated in 2013, her love of reading led her to take an internship at the book department of a London auction house. “I was living with my parents in Buckinghamshire and took the Metropolitan line into work every day,” she says.

In September that year, she was spotted by Richard Showan, who lived in Chorleywood and worked as a lawyer in the West End. Although Emma had her nose in a book, he couldn’t miss her red lipstick. “She had all these feathers in her hair and looked very distinctive. I really wanted to talk to her, but I was too shy.” After a few days of seeing her every day on the tube, they caught each other’s eye and smiled. Emma was keeping a diary at the time and nicknamed him “awkward train guy”. “One day my sister caught the train with me and asked if ‘train guy’ was around. He was wearing a bad jumper, so I lied and said no, because I didn’t want her to judge,” she remembers.

By the end of October, Richard was finally ready to approach her. “I went over to the spare seat next to her. I think my first words were: ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ and I just stood there awkwardly.” Emma asked if he wanted to sit down and they chatted throughout the journey. “I think I managed to tell her I’d been bitten by a duck once,” he laughs. Although he told Emma he was a lawyer, she didn’t believe him. “He was always dressed in jeans and baggy jumpers. I thought he was a van driver,” she says.

They chatted again over the next few days, before eventually exchanging numbers and agreeing to meet for a coffee. “Neither of us were looking for anything at the time,” says Emma. “I thought it was a friendship at first. But I did think he was handsome and easy to talk to.” They met at a Costa near Emma’s home and ended up chatting for hours. “We met in the morning and were still there by dinner time,” she says.

By November, the pair were officially a couple. “The day before Christmas Eve, I told him I loved him and he said it back on Boxing Day,” says Emma. The following autumn, they bought a house together in Amersham and Emma gained her qualifications to start a career as a town planner. On New Year’s Eve 2014, Richard asked her to marry him. “It wasn’t quite the proposal you’d expect,” says Richard. “I was working during the day and Emma came to meet me for lunch with a picnic. I’d had a ring made already, so I just got down on one knee outside my office and then went back to work. My boss sent me home to celebrate.”

On holiday in Corfu, September 2016.
On holiday in Corfu, September 2016. Photograph: Image provided by Emma Showan

They married at Mayfair library in February 2017 and had a reception at the Landmark hotel, where they had shared afternoon tea on one of their early dates. That year, they moved to Aylesbury, where they still live. The couple share a passion for travel; they love going to off-the-beaten-track destinations. “We’ve visited Ghana, Uzbekistan, Bosnia, Russia, Mongolia and we went on the Trans-Siberian railway for our honeymoon. We also go to Cornwall every year. I introduced Emma to surfing on the south coast,” says Richard.

Emma loves her partner’s thoughtfulness and the fact that he is confident about who he is. “He’s never afraid to say no and go his own way. He’s taught me to be more confident and introduced me to new music, food and experiences.” Although most people think Richard is “quiet and nice”, she says there is much more to him than meets the eye. “He’s spontaneous and funny. There’s so many layers to him.”

Meanwhile, Richard says his wife’s spark can light up a room. “She’s so generous with her time and always fun to be around.” He has also enjoyed getting to know her family, who are originally from Poland. “It’s meant I have been able to explore another culture and try new foods. I’ve eaten lots of beetroot soup,” he laughs.


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