The typical morning flurry bustling up and down Bangkok's Yaowarat Road, the animated heart of its Chinatown, is interrupted this hot May day by the peculiar sight of three slender, statuesque girls parading through its winding, capillary-like markets clad in head-to-toe Gucci Fall-Winter 2019. Move along, everyone, it's no big deal.
Laureen Uy casually adjusts one of her bright green lace stocking legs in front of a wheeled kiosk selling steaming bread buns. A short half hour later, it's her sister Liz Uy's turn—we purchase a stack of boxed mooncakes from a streetside shop, and in exchange, its amused owner allows us a shot or two posed languidly beside her merchandise. Laureen darts forward to fix the bow on Liz's fuchsia puffer jacket. It's summer and sweltering; still, despite the decadent layers they're both swathed in, neither bats a single lash in the infernal heat.
Model Madi Ross, on the other hand, knows this city far better than anyone in our small group. Fearlessly, with a beaming smile and mile-long strides, she guides photographer Shaira Luna and I into a labyrinth-esque maze of stalls peddling everything from 'Thailand'-emblazoned souvenirs to spiny, dangling durian to bleeding racks of raw meat. She leads us back out with the same grinning ease, and with that, we hop into the blessedly air-conditioned van for a quick change en route to the next location.
Wat Arun, boasting colorful, lavishly detailed porcelain spires, is stunning...and, much to our relief, the temple guards are far more curious than they are strict. Our fears that they would not permit us to shoot the shorter dresses and sheer tights are, thankfully, quashed. They train careful eyes on us, but for the most part, solemnly keep their distance as Liz, Laureen, and Madi strut for Shaira's camera under the sizzling noontime sun.
After some precarious teetering on the temple's steep, iridescent steps for the final few frames, we finally call a unanimous wrap. Joy of joys! Liz immediately skitters out of her knee-skimming scarlet platform boots and makes a happy beeline for the nearest chopped-fruit cart. "Are those sweet?" she asks the friendly vendor, who returns her grin with a nod. "Perfect!" she exclaims, pleased, and buys six plastic pouches of melons, pineapples, and mangoes for the team to share.
And aren't all the day's tiny tidbits a true testament to what this collection is about? "Full of little things," Alessandro Michele described it at the show's Milan press conference last February. In the same manner minute incidents can build to startling, full-blown dramatics, a simple bite of salted sliced pomelo can finish a rather unusual afternoon with a wound-down flourish.
Produced by Yanna Lopez
Photography by Shaira Luna
Models: Liz Uy, Laureen Uy, and Madi Ross
Special thanks to SSI Philippines