Gucci’s new pre-fall 2019 campaign includes so very many of creative director Alessandro Michele’s signature motifs. The images, shot by frequent Gucci collaborator Glen Luchford, feature piles of sequins, lace, prep-school suiting, and florals that could have been plucked off the backs of hippies at the Troubadour. A cast of models, surfers, bodybuilders, Barcelona punks, and musicians were placed against the crumbling ruins of Sicily’s Selinunte Archaeological Park, home to the Temple of Hera. A stray Sicilian dog even made it into the campaign.
“It was mind-blowing,” said 26-year-old Dani Miller, who stars in the campaign alongside fellow musicians Sean Powell, Alex Kilgore, and David Head from New York punk band Surfbort. “I thought I was on acid, on a cloud in a crazy dream.”
Surfbort is one of New York’s last (only?) great punk bands. Their hair-raising performances are electrifying, vital, and very, very loud. Miller scream-sings tracks about slushies, President Trump, and white people having picnics, and you cannot help but mosh and jump and do embarrassing involuntary things with your body. All kinds of fans have taken notice—including Michele and his director of brand image, Michaela Tafuri. Michele and Tafuri booked Surfbort to play at Gucci’s SoHo store opening last September. Powell, Kilgore, and Head have roots in ”80s punk, and Michele wanted the party to be reminiscent of ”80s New York (a common sentiment in a city that increasingly resembles one enormous Duane Reade).
“Opening the Wooster store was the first time I kind of got a look into the world of Gucci,” says Miller. “When they let us go into the store and pick out things to wear for the show, my mind exploded. I didn’t realize I would love it so much, and that the whole collection would be from my wildest dreams. So it was amazing. It made me look at fashion and clothes in a new light.”
Surfbort spent the last few months of 2018 on tour with Iceage and the Black Lips, but Gucci stayed in touch. They asked the whole band—and Miller’s boyfriend, Jeffertitti Moon, who performs both with Father John Misty and his own band Jeffertitti’s Nile—to appear in the pre-fall campaign alongside Australian punk band Amyl and the Sniffers. And so they went off to Sicily, where they marveled at the ruins and made friends with stray pups.
“It felt like some weird clown freak-show meet-up,” says Miller, adding that that’s an effusive compliment. “It was just really bizarre and wild. It was just so cool that every kind of person, no matter what they were into, was there.”
Miller models frequently, but likes to only work with brands she respects, ranging from downtown upstarts like Luis Raul Solis’s label LRS to major labels like Marc Jacobs. But it’s rarer that she gets to work in fashion with all of her bandmates. “I think it was really cool because some people, maybe in fashion, are obsessed with ageism, and looking so young and beautiful,” she says. “And I think it’s so cool that Alessandro saw the beauty in my band. I think that at any age you can shine. And they had a blast.”
Surfbort has a lovely working relationship with Michele. Miller loves him, and talks a million miles a minute about how “frickin’ amazing” he is.
“Alessandro just makes everyone feel like they’re in a giant freak family,” she says. “He supports artists, which the music industry struggles to do. He really believes in people’s art. And he doesn’t just take a human or an artist and just put the clothes on and throw it together, he really kind of exemplifies their spirit and their shine. He just enriches their lives.”
Surfbort is headed back on the road soon, with upcoming shows in London and Madrid, and a West Coast tour with beloved D.C. band Royal Trux. Miller likes to collect “weird treasure clothes” on tour. “I’m a top model now,” she jokes. “Alert the press.”