Petra Collins Travels to Tokyo With Gucci

Gucci Fall 2016

Gucci Fall 2016. Photo courtesy the brand.

For Gucci's fall 2016 campaign, designer Alessandro Michele brought his muses—Petra Collins, Lia Pavlova, Polina Oganicheva, Mae Lapres, Sofia Friesen, Jack Chambers, Chistopher Paskowski, Joep Van de Sande, and Yan Kumra—all the way to Tokyo, Japan with his favorite photographer of the moment, Glen Luchford. (Last season's destination was Berlin.) In March, the motley crew embarked on a fantastical adventure around the shimmering city at night, traveling by dekotora bus (basically, a Japanese party bus) everywhere from a pachinko arcade to a traditional tea house. Here, Collins recounts her first time in the city.

Was it your first time in Tokyo?
Yeah it was my first time, and I'd been wanting to go for my entire life. It was crazy because we shot during the cherry blossom season. It was Tokyo at its literal best.

Why was it a place that you had dreamed about going?
It's so different from any other part of the world. Visually, it's so crazy because there's a mix of old and new. They're very aware of the city's aesthetic value, so they keep it up, but at the same time continue to advance all their technology. For example, when I got into a cab there, the cars look all vintage but the doors are automatic—and when you get inside there's lace on the seats. It just feels like another world that exists both in the past and the future. Visually, for me it's just so exciting.

Did you have any time to explore the city on your own when you weren't shooting?
Yeah I did! One of my good friends, India Menuez, was there just for fun. It was so crazy because I posted a photo on Instagram of her in cherry blossoms that I shot maybe two years ago, and she commented, "Dude, I'm there right now!" And I was like, "Wait! I'm there too!" When I had a day off, we went to see the cherry blossoms and then we went to this retro theme park called Hanayashiki. It's in the middle of the city and then we went to a temple around there. We also have friends in Japan who are artists, so we got to have that experience too. My friend Monika Mogi, who is an amazing photographer, was in town, too, so she took us around. I got to see how people really lived there, and then I also got to shoot this fantastical thing.

What was it like inside the arcade?
The pachinko parlor was the loudest place ever. It's like Vegas inside Disneyland. Very high energy. Instead of chips you have these little metal balls and there's so much texture going in. People are really intense about it.

Did you win any prizes?
No. I'm literally so bad.

And what about that crazy-looking bus?
Oh my god yeah, it was a real dekotora bus and the driver who decorated it was there. Inside it had all these little trinkets and toys. It was really fun pretending to drive it, but I didn't actually. The magic of film. Once it turns on, everyone gets really excited.

What was it like on set with Alessandro Michele? How does he inspire your own work?
Working with Alessandro is great. The first time I met him was at his studio in Milan when I was walking in the show. Going in there was just ... there are millions of rhinestones and fabrics and references. He really knows how to bring totally different things together to make something unique. A lot of his stuff could be inspired by the Renaissance or 70's disco or 90's punk. I think aesthetically, he just nails it. And his process really excites me.

What do you like about his Fall 2016 collection?
All of Alessandro's collections are what I want to wear to power dress. The dress that I'm wearing in the video made me feel so powerful and cool and also like myself. A few months ago at the Tribeca Film Festival, I wore one of his full long sleeve shirts with a matching skirt—like, my body was fully covered—but I've never felt more hot or sexy. I just felt so cool! That's what I love about the collection: it's redefining what sexy is. And I also like that it's interchangeable—men can wear the women's looks and women can wear the men's looks. It's super fluid and there's no start or end. You can mix and match all the patterns. Basically, it's like my dream collection!

And what was the last film you saw with subtitles?
I actually just saw this amazing movie called La Ciénaga. It was so great—really shocking and beautiful.

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