Chris Cunningham Feels Love for Gucci's Flora

Frida Giannini has teamed up with Chris Cunningham and Donna Summer to unleash a field full of love and Dazed Digital exclusively show the 60 second ad.

Text by Stephen Whelan

From its original incarnation as a silk scarf specifically designed for Princess Grace of Monaco in 1966, to the sought-after accessories and ready to wear pieces designed by Frida Giannini in the 21st century, Gucci's Flora has proven to have a timeless allure. Rediscovered by Giannini as inspiration for the new Gucci fragrance, the heritage of Flora has been transformed into a sensuous and empowering new scent. Flora rolls out across the world from this month, launching internationally with a commercial shot by Chris Cunningham.

Cunningham's film, starring Australian model Abbey Lee, captures the seductive and ultra-feminine notes of the new fragrance while emphasising its call to strength and self confidence. A young woman in a diaphanous Flora print dress stands waist high in the middle of a seemingly unending mass of pristine white flowers, illuminated from behind by the setting sun. Taking on the power of nature she controls the movement of the wind to bring the field to life before shape-shifting into a ephemeral, Rorschach-like butterfly of dancing fabric and golden light. Shot over four days in Latvia during July last year, the film's field was created using more than 20,000 fake flowers.

Riccardo Ruini who developed the concept for the commercial with Giannini and Cunningham, explains the evolution of the film:

“Foremost in our minds was a desire to avoid the heroine being perceived as passive or dreamy. We wanted to portray the female as an active character who brings to life in an active way the Flora personality by controlling the nature around her. We also felt it was important to demonstrate a movement of the female from mademoiselle to empowered woman; a woman initially delicate and feminine transforming into someone stronger and more powerful. “

Having worked with David Lynch to launch Gucci by Gucci, Ruini and Giannini wanted an equally powerful creative vision at play on the new project. Working with Italian production house FilmMaster and Ridley Scott’s RSA Films in London, Chris Cunningham took the reins to steer the commercial from concept to execution.

“The main drive was to create a deep poetic feeling rather than something simply romantic, a word that doesn’t fit in the Gucci code. The choice of using Chris Cunningham fit perfectly with this concept,” says Ruini. “Chris added a lot to the original idea, making the whole project more majestic and cinematic. We strive to give as much creative space as possible to great directors that are involved in our projects so we avoid setting limitations at the outset. Chris developed the initial storyboard by adding his own principles and aesthetics.”

Part of that vision lay in the choice of music. With Lynch’s film playing out against a backdrop of Blondie’s Heart of Glass, Gucci decided to stick to a 70s and 80s sound and blend Cunningham’s visuals with Donna Summer’s disco classic I Feel Love. “We wanted to go further with the sound on this film and knew of Chris’ renowned passion for music so we asked him what he felt about re-recording, producing and arranging a new working of the track. He answered by travelling to Nashville in November last year for a few days to re-record the vocals with Donna Summer,” reveals Ruini. "Donna's track is an amazing classic and we were all blown away the first time the song was played to Chris' images."

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