Phoebe Bridgers songs document a life defined by terrific highs and devastating lows. Regardless of their subject matter, they showcase a burning intelligence. Which makes it no surprise she has chosen a series of cerebral Gucci outfits for her L’Officiel spring 2021 digital US cover stoot.
Phoebe Bridgers’ history with Gucci
Bridgers has been known to associate with Gucci since showcasing a lemon midi dress from the Italian fashion house’s Ouverture collection in November 2020. She also wore a glamourous custom Gucci outfit (and lipstick) for an April Saturday Night Live performance. Echoing musical hero Kurt Cobain who appeared on the show in 1992, Phoebe finished her set by smashing a guitar onstage.
She met with deafening applause. The groundswell building behind Bridgers for several years had finally pushed her into the limelight. An invitation into Gucci’s core circle of artist collaborators was another seal of approval. The Gucci outfit, a play on Bridger’s own Punisher-inspired skeleton motif, projected a powerful message. Despite her newfound acceptance, Bridgers was not going to tone down her personality.
Phoebe Bridgers inverts gender norms
Before his death, Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain was well known for wearing dresses. Phoebe Bridgers has inverted this idea on several occasions. One example is her choice of a tuxedo at 2019’s GQ‘s Men Of The Year party. Another is her suit and tie combination in 2017’s ‘Motion Sickness‘ music video. Bridgers’ L’Officiel shoot continues to reflect this taste. “It’s such a crazy double standard,” she informs the magazine, “about who’s allowed to dress up or not.”
The most striking of her outfits is a red silk Gucci long-sleeved shirt and belt. The black men’s trousers add impact and retro charm. Overall, the outfit throws back to the new romantic era of pop in the 1980s.
During this period acts such as Duran Duran captured mainstream attention with androgynous lipstick and foppish shirts. It was also a time in history when the goth aesthetic, most widely popularised by Robert Smith of The Cure, first rose to cultural prominence. Given Bridgers own goth leanings and Gucci’s ’80s revivalism, the outfit makes for a playful collision of taste.
Red is the colour
Red is the colour of individuality. Fittingly, Bridgers wears these outfits with attitude. Though it must be noted she is styled closely to the way Gucci first introduced them to the world with its 2020 GucciFest film series. This uniform approach detracts from the impact of these eye-catching pieces. Other outfits in Bridgers’ photo series also loses edge due to similarity with recent Gucci styled shoots. Most notably, a series of promotional images recently taken of Eurovision winners Måneskin.
The future is genderfluid
Seeing Gucci’s heart bust dress on Måneskin’s Victoria De Angelis and Bridgers does however make a striking point. These numbers, and other similar outfits we have seen from Gucci this season, hammer home the fact that the genderfluid concepts Gucci mastermind Allesandro Michele often rhapsodizes about are making an impact. Especially amongst taste-making musicians.
As far back as Plato in 375 BC, great thinkers have questioned the arbitrary distinctions societies place between men and women. Gucci and vanguard artists such as Bridgers’ adoption of a genderless approach, suggests these outfits are more than a passing novelty. The future may have a more permanent place for genderfluid clothing in modern fashion.