How Melbourne barista Arun Roberts became the face of Gucci

He works at a cafe in Melbourne's Southern Cross Station by day and plays bass touring the world with the likes Gabriella Cohen and Ben Salter (when he's not trying to make ends meet).

At six foot eight, musician Arun Roberts couldn't hide in a crowd if he tried but on stage he's the gentle giant that caught the eye of a Gucci talent scout who saw him perform at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles in April this year.

What happened next is the stuff of movies: broke musician couch surfing in between tours in London staying with friends, drinking cheap wine and watching Netflix to pass the time. Next he's being picked up by a private car transfer, put on a plane to Florence to be fitted and appear in the Gucci Cruise show held in Florence in May.

'Igor from Romania'

"Apparently I wasn't so easy to find after the show," says Roberts, who was on holiday with his girlfriend in Mexico when his phone started beeping with the news Gucci was after him.

"Gabriella Cohen has this thing where she introduces me on stage as Igor from Romania. The Gucci people couldn't locate me but eventually found out I was Arun from Melbourne," he says.

Meeting Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele was the ultimate buzz according to Roberts.

"He has such a burning enthusiasm for things from music to art and film and there's a buzz around him," he says.

"When he saw me the first thing he said was 'wow you really are tall'. He's the kind of guy who can say ' I want a zebra, a leopard, two dogs' and those around him will go off and get all the theatrical things he needs to make a fashion show work. You can't help but feed of his energy," he says.

Made to unusual measure

When it came to the fitting, Roberts says it took many outfit changes and lengthening of pants and sleeves to fit his tall frame. They also had to find suitable shoes in size 13 to fit him as well.


"I was kind of nervous but then I got into it," says Roberts.

"There were five other musicians who were also part of the show and around 117 models showcasing various looks so I was one small part in the big picture. We were made to feel like important guests," he says.

"Alessandro was so nice and the real deal. He was engaged with each of us and coming to look at the outfits until he was happy with the final choice," he says.

Model musician

"I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd go on tour and end up in a Gucci runway show. Lucky for me it didn't involve walking down an actual runway and posing. It was more about standing still and walking a short distance. I could handle that," he says.

Roberts, who also has his own band Dirt Hands says he's keen to explore the world of modeling after his chance run in with the best fashion house in the world.

"It definitely got me thinking I'd love to do this, but music is obviously my main love," he says.