Alessandro Michele took over as the creative director of Gucci in 2015. A relative unknown in the fashion world, he has injected a fire in Gucci that hasn’t been seen since Tom Ford’s days at the label. In these days of the celebrity fashion-director, it was unusual for an unknown to get the job and it was also unusual how he got the job.
The story goes that Alessandro Michele didn’t present any designs in his interview, instead he presented a mood board. He shared his influences, philosophy, inspirations and inquiries to Gucci Exec’s and Gucci’s parent company. He shared what he was thinking about rather than sharing his conclusions.
The key to creativity and innovation is knowing the questions to ask. Answers are secondary and temporary, innovation requires constant iteration that belies the finality of an answer.
It takes guts to be ok to sit with the question. It takes courage to admit that you may not have all the answers. It requires a level of control over our ego which is elusive to most of us mere mortals. But when it happens, it’s magic.
Magicians create illusions through misdirection, utilizing a phenomenon called inattentional blindness to their advantage. Cognitive scientists refer to this as part of ‘the grand illusion’ which is essentially our brain’s subjective orientation. We literally see what we want to see and miss a lot of details in the process. Norwegian Psychology professor Vebjørn Ekroll explains this as seeing the world through a small hole in a paper bag ((https://aeon.co/essays/how-real-magic-happens-when-the-brain-sees-hidden-things).
Magic happens when we acknowledge we have choice and we open the curtains on the darkness of the narrow existence of our brain. When we see beyond ‘the grand illusion’ and glimpse all the options available to us.
When we take off the paper bag and realize how big the world is and how little we know.
When we get more interested in the questions than the answers.
That’s Real Magic.