Sixty-eight pairs of identical twins dressed in pairs of matching catwalk finery – two dazzling Lurex gowns with shark-bite cut outs, two tailored silk ensembles embroidered with cherry blossoms, two pinstripe suits with ladylike handbags – was a mic-drop moment of visual drama that brought the house down at the Gucci show at Milan fashion week.

To cast the show, Gucci had sent a secret scouting party to Twins Day, a twins convention in Twinsburg, Ohio. The audience, divided between two separate rooms, did not know they were watching twins until the final moments, when a screen dividing the rooms was lifted and each model joined hands with a sibling who had been walking in tandem with them throughout the show.

To look at identical twins can feel like viewing a natural wonder of the world. Twinning is “so familiar – but so powerful”, said the show’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, after the show. Twins, he said, remind us of “the connective tissue” in families and in society.

Houndstooth and handbags at Gucci. Photograph: Monic/Gucci

“I use the runway as a theatrical stage, and fashion speaks strongly to ideas of otherness. I know that I have another side of me – I meet him when I go to my therapist. We all have another side of us, and sometimes we meet that person, and hold hands,” said Michele. Before the show, guests were sent a Rorschach test to complete, rather than invitations, because “this show is about what you find when you dig inside yourself, so I wanted to prepare you all for that,” the designer added.

On the catwalk, toy Gremlins peeked out from sleek leather handbags – because “Gremlins are small animals, but they can be naughty. They are like your own fear of your evil self.” Michele’s unboundaried eccentricity might seem an unexpected fit for Italy’s biggest luxury brand, but it reaps dividends, as sales of more than $10bn last year attest.

Michele dedicated the show to the women he calls his “twin mums”. He grew up with his mother, Eralda, and her twin, his aunt Giuliana, two women so close that they seemed “magically multiplied”, he said.

Models walk the runway of the Gucci Twinsburg show in Milan, Italy.
Models walk the runway of the Gucci Twinsburg show in Milan, Italy. Photograph: Monic/Gucci

Another piece of catwalk theatre is expected at Milan fashion week this weekend. The glamorous and mutually lucrative love affair between the Milanese powerhouse Dolce & Gabbana and the Kardashians, the first family of pop culture, is set for a public display of affection with Kim Kardashian as the star turn at the Dolce & Gabbana show on Saturday afternoon.

Kardashian’s social media channels have teased closeup shots of jeans with a “Kim x Dolce & Gabbana” label, while a much-photographed visit to the designers’ Milan headquarters by the businesswoman and model, clad in a crystal-studded catsuit, has fuelled rumours of a fashion collaboration.

The long-running love-in between the Kardashians and Dolce & Gabbana was made official in May when the designers hosted Kourtney Kardashian’s wedding to Travis Barker. Dolce & Gabbana dressed the bride and her family for the four-day event, during which vows were exchanged at the designers’ Portofino home, and guests transported in boats liveried in Dolce & Gabbana prints. The brand performance firm Launchmetrics estimated the wedding earned the fashion label $25.4m in media impact value.

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