The current incarnation of Gucci is either completely absurd, or utterly brilliant. After two years with designer Alessandro Michele in charge, it is beginning to look as if it must be both.
The slogan T-shirts, Sesame Street colours, stick-on pearls, triangular silhouettes and woodland animals straight from nursery wallpaper do not adhere to any previously known rules of stylish dressing – and yet the label gains more fans with every season. In the last quarter of 2016, during which Michele’s third womenswear collection was on the shopfloor, growth accelerated from an already impressive 17% to a new high of 21%.
Gucci’s latest catwalk show, a blockbuster collection of 60 looks for men and 40 for women, was staged in its imposing new headquarters, which are a symbol of this success. A theatre-height purple velvet curtain lifted to reveal a catwalk in a plexiglass tunnel of the type found in airport terminals, which wound around a metal pyramid topped with a rooster weathervane.
The easiest moniker for the Gucci look is “geek chic”. Heavy spectacles are embellished with diamante. Dresses with gauche, outsize frills look like something a well-meaning but clueless mum would buy for her daughter’s teenage prom. Kooky extras, like an unusual shoe or a mink tennis sweatband, pop up around the edges of the look like thought bubbles.
Geek chic is the Gucci mindset as well as the Gucci mood board, because what makes the brand compelling is the way it scrambles together being clever with being pretty. The invitation for the show was a gatefold album sleeve with the slogan “What are we going to do with all this future?” written by graffiti artists Coco Capitan. Inside, Florence Welch reading from Blake’s Innocence and Experience and A$AP Rocky reading Wentworth’s love letter to Anne Elliot from Jane Austen’s Persuasion were recorded on to vinyl.
After the show, Michele, wearing a Gucci T-shirt with the Capitan-daubed legend “I want to go back to beliving [sic] in a story” and a New York Yankees cap embroidered with a butterfly and his nickname, Lallo, was bombarded with good wishes from Salma Hayek to Bobby Gillespie and campaign star Tom Hiddleston. He greeted each with a sincere, priestly clasp of one of their hands between both of his.
Gucci’s core theme is the diversity of celebrations. Sex is fluid, the establishment of a binary file predator and prey of disregard. The age of dressing out of the water, the ancient chic potential or useless does not apply. This philosophy is rigorous, Gucci recently became the first luxury brand to join the park, a public welfare organization, designed to promote the diversity of workplace, attention to sexual orientation and gender identity. Especially the different casting of this program, recently on an upcoming advertising campaign trailer with a special black model, emphasizing the new Gucci looks more than just one but a way of thinking.
Each look is a brilliant color and detail. Tied with silk rose into the knitting Bala Krafa cap striped cardigan with contrast, wearing a fallen pleated skirt in the Lulux fabric, the Mary Jane shoes with lace socks – a hundred years to collect. Symbols (miniature Austin novels, or embroidered snakes, an Egyptian contradictory snake to eat their own tails) interlayer sandwiched satsuma-colourred tulle and louisque fabric with rainbow markings. Imagine a scratching head of Leonardo da Vinci stripping, Topshop’s story takes place where you have pictures.
Most designers try to wear light references, Michelle geeks with hard academic and show notes attribute reference protocols. “The necessity of recognizing itself as a multiple becomes” (G Delez); a united, refuge in the “self-parliament” (GH Mead). “