The soothing rhythm of deep breathing that opened the sound track of the Gucci Menswear show was a fantastic auditory invitation to the audience to release their collective bated breath and just let designer Alessandro Michele's new vision for the house wash over them.
The acceptance had already started with the new venue for the collection, a dilapidated warehouse with out of commission train tracks delineating the entrance. Inside, bands of blue and purple neon tubing illuminated the cement catwalk instead of the famed Gucci spotlight used since the Tom Ford era. All of it was a clear twist on what is traditionally considered a luxury fashion show.
Twisting, or as Michele called it in his show notes “détournement,” is also what the designer is doing to the Gucci codes. This is how he has decided to reinvent the house. Taking snippets of its past, mostly from its heydays in the 70s, and reworking them into something that feels both reverential of their origins but also distinctly neoteric.
Each exit was an entity in and of itself – a vintage find given a luxe retro polish by the designer. Unique, distinctive, and unforgettable. The clothes had the compulsorily trinity needed to satisfy the social media saturated consumers of today.
These designs stick in the mind and don't let go.
There were, however, a few linking threads in the collection. The suiting all came with shrunken sleeved jackets and slim floor-skimming bell bottom trousers, even if they appeared cut in different wallpaper prints or embellished with embroidered flowers. Michele also incorporated a strong element of nature into his work, adorning sweaters, shear lace tops, and a slim short jackets with embroidered patches in the forms of bees, butterflies, and blooms. He also continued to imbue femininity into his menswear options; both ruffles and bows were part and parcel of almost every look. But at the same time, the addition of spikes on the backs of lace-up flats or across a sky blue leather jacket pointed to some toughening up being done by the designer.
Even those who wistfully remember the easy to understand era of Michele's predecessor couldn't help but be convinced by the beauty of a glossy brown snakeskin coat, a red chinoiserie embroidered blouson jacket, or a double G trench with suede accents.
On a few of the looks the phrase "aveuglé par l'amour" was spelled out. And it was an apt maxim for this collection. Those who love it are going to fall hard and fast for this fresh and youthful approach to Gucci.