You know, it’s a fascinating thing to witness change. I remember walking backstage at my first Gucci show (S/S 2009), and seeing the famous makeup artist Pat McGrath applying her finishing touches to these bronzed, impossibly handsome young men with their perfect hair and buttery soft leather jackets. They looked $$$. So very Gucci. Fast forward a few years, though, and, “So very Gucci,” is now an entirely different proposition, seen through the eyes of Alessandro Michele, a creative with a preference for misfits and romantics.
The first look of Michele’s second men’s collection, titled Détournement (diversion), featured a signature GG pattern leather trench coat with suede paneling, paired with signature Gucci green flares and a signature Gucci red leather tote. That set the agenda for the entire collection — stylistically, the show pushed the boat out as far as it could go, with dramatically flared pants that puddled at the floor, transparent lacy shirts, crocheted sweaters, butterfly embroideries and prints on prints on prints. Gender blurring galore.
But within that new-new, was Michele’s vision of the new-old; all of Gucci’s signature elements remained: Leather, tons of it. Accessories, yeap. Signature colours, absolutely. Visible branding, aplenty. Everything you need for a successful luxury collection, just fresher that what you’ve been used to seeing at Gucci for a long, long time.
As far as I can tell, change was an absolute necessity for the brand: After years of watching these impossibly aspirational but absolutely unattainable spawn-of-jet-setter-looking-models walk up and down the catwalk, there seemed to be a disconnect between what was happening in the world and what Gucci was offering.
One of the most interesting elements of the show was that you were no longer intimidated by the models. They were incredibly young, desperately thin, and often downright dorky, just like the artsy kids in high school who weren’t afraid of wearing grandma’s cardigan when everyone else was wearing baggy jeans and skate shoes (my high school, anyway). And that to me feels very fresh. Alessandro Michele’s idea for Gucci is a far cry from the untouchable luxury that Frida Giannini proposed.
A few things you need to remember: A fashion show is theatre; most people won’t wear head-to-toe looks, and there will be a commercial collection inspired by the runway show that will be a lot less provocative (I was told this morning that some of the daintier printed silk shirts with the elongated collars will be remade in cotton with a point collar but in the same print). I’m dying to see how that looks when it arrives in stores, but I also can’t wait to see how something like the suede trench above looks with a pair of vintage stonewash Levi’s 501s and canvas sneakers. That’s how I’d wear it, anyway.
Last but not least, this girl stole the entire show for me. Maybe it was her personality coming through on the catwalk, but magpie dressing never looked so good. If Alessandro Michele’s crew is Freaks and Geeks: The New Class, it’s a club I definitely want to join… if they’ll have me.
All photos: style.com.
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