Reading a Gucci press release under Alessandro Michele is almost a riveting experience as witnessing one of his immensely creative shows. The exceptional wordsmithery that goes on is an enjoyable preamble to a show. Like the shows, the press release is intelligent, an intellect’s mind running wild on the page. “To make a journey means to be digging into the landscape,” the first line, following a T.S. Eliot quote, read. “Otherness, echoes of spaces, crossed or imagined; temporalities, plural and thickened,” it continues. The ‘man dress’ made its return for Spring 2017, opening the show in green, paired with bubblegum pink shorts and knee-high socks. Otherness, personified. Following that there were a slew of looks that resembled how Michele himself dresses, capri trousers, posh blazers. The thickening of ideas, plurality is a concept not unknown to Michele. His ideas contain heft, maximalism entrenched in his aesthetic. Pieces on both men, and the women that walked, were layered heavily with accessories. A model, “the traveller,”, the mannequin. The excess of stuff is commonplace.
“The traveller is, in fact, able to go deep down ‘as an archaeologist through different layers of reality,’” was printed on the neon green page, with an illustration of a dragon this season. Michele shared backstage, his dislike of travelling. Instead he looked at other methods of travelling: via the pages of books, interior design, art worlds. Travelling is prevalent in this collection, every collection. The eye travels from one point of the tantalising outfit to the next. From the well-heels foot to the adorned crown. There’s a lot going on, a lot to absorb and digest.
Michele’s made his work more and more digestible. He’s been at the Italian label a year and a half, every collection referencing the previous one. There’re subtle shifts in aesthetic, but the overall vibe that the nu-Gucci emits hasn’t changed from January 2015. You might beg the question, “why all the praise if nothing is changing?” I have found myself often pondering this too. My conclusion is that Michele has revolutionised an Italian luxury brand famed for its seriousness in expression, grown-up attitude, specific customer; from behind the behind-the-scenes emerged a whiz with the chutzpah to reimagine a classic brand. There’s a freshness to it because for countless seasons we suffered Frida Giannini’s lazy Gucci.
The effect the nu-Gucci has had on the real world is unmissable. Prior to Michele’s debut, men weren’t brave enough to dress the way he envisioned. Sheer blouses, unconventionally-cut jackets, and femininity were introduced to a major brand. Singer BØRNS and actor Jared Leto were early supporters in the menswear arena. What you can take away from that is Michele has made the ‘weird’ (to the modern man) palatable, in ways that seemed impossible.
Vivacious spirits erupt in Gucci collections nowadays. As a reviewer, you’re thankful that there is so much to talk about. As a customer, you’re delighted with the options presented before you. As a company, you reap the rewards in both spheres, with press and buyers engaging spiritedly with your business entity. Sprinkling the Michele fairy dust on Gucci had invigorated the house; a breath of fresh air at the time when it was unbearably stagnant. The knowledge and creativity Michele brings to the label is earned from his travels, whether it be through reading or physically visiting places, it all intersects for a jam-packed, hearty, unmissable Gucci collection.
Photo Credit: twitter.com/gucci