Today, a company's success is based on how much it has its finger on the pulse of people's needs and desires. Fashion brands are among the ones that perhaps need to know even more than that, including people's habits, before the collection itself. Today, this expertise is called engagement and you can only get it by being as close to the audience as possible. This is the secret of Alessandro Michele's Gucci, someone that kept his proximity to real life as a trademark of his inaccessibility. The company's disruptive communication, creative and retail strategies made people dream to be part of its community. This season's invitation was the most sustainable one yet, a voice message sent on Whatsapp with zero impact and zero costs. Smart and real, Michele was humbly asking you to come to the show, if you didn't have anything better to do. From the thoughtful invitation to the warm welcome, the entrance was directly backstage where makeup was in progress and the designer was greeting everybody.
“I wanted to show where the transformation for the fashion ritual starts,” said the designer backstage after the show. “While preparing this collection I realized that we are living in a cycle that starts and finishes endlessly. Something that vaguely initiates without a script but that day by day takes the shape. When I see the final results it's my most emotional moment.” This is the perfect way to explain Michele’s fashion: seasonless, trendless, genderless. Ever since he took the helm, Gucci has been evolving and expanding whilst keeping its aesthetic and never being repetitive. The Gucci lady of this season didn’t walk a catwalk but was inside a transparent rotating roundabout where the models were prepared in the showcased dressing area. They looked bon ton by wearing small school girl dresses, pleated skirts recalling high society ladies with voluminous ball gowns or austere black flemish-looking dresses paired with wide brim old England-style top hats. On the other part, the most rebellious ones wore ripped tights with harnesses, chokers and latex dresses. The two types of women cohabited in an outrageous mix. Lastly, the crucifix necklaces were the signs of belonging of the same community. “Everybody wants to be part of this endless ritual that perpetuate several time of the year,” Michele explained. “And I love to make this happen every time, this is what excites me the most. My team and I are the group of people that share the first moments, then we share it with you and you are the bridge with the wider communities around the world.” The show opened and closed with a voice-over by Federico Fellini who described, with his and childish voice, his idea of cinema both as a director of movies and a viewer – a way to make a ceremony happen in his unique fantasies. “I love him and I would have had the chance to meet him,” recounted Michele who paid homage to the Italian Maestro's acme of his creative process, through the fashion show.
Moncler also evolved from the seasonal collections to the community formula. The genius project has been keeping the designers that created it three years ago – like Hiroshi Fujiwara, Simone Rocha and Craig Green – or those who joined it later, including 1017 alyx 9SM by Matthew Williams. The rotation of names this season brought the exit of Pierpaolo Piccioli and new collaborations with the Northern Ireland designer JW Anderson. He revisited the iconic pieces of his eponymous brand by redesigning them with the padded signature material. From the polka dots decorations to the studs, here made softer with nylon, from flowers prints to the glossy and mat surfaces. Big hats were also a signature item that here became his distinguish touch. There were two new collaborations that expanded the Moncler Genius universe outside the garments. One of them was the branded bicycle made in collaboration with the Danish brand Mate. An electric and foldable two-wheel bike: chubby tires for off roads and mountain paths, but also useful and comfortable for the city roads. The second new collaboration was with German luggage brand Rimowa for the “Reflection” drop. The special edition has a customizable led tab on the front to show personal messages using an App. The chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini's invention is a successful project that reshuffled the rules of contemporary fashion by putting the streetwear drops format within the luxury segment with the aim of engaging customers as much as possible through different kinds of events (the 4000 people invited tonight’s party is the proof that it’s working). But how long will this formula work in a quick and ever-changing world? Maybe it's time to start thinking about the next step, which will recast the static fashion rules.
Lucie and Luke Meier, the couple behind Jil Sander, have the sensibility to lead their audiences to imaginary trips through time and space with light, undefined ethnic touches or puffed sleeves that recalled flemish atmospheres. This season, the collection softened and gave space to femininity, sometimes restrained in Meier's work. The duality was the main theme; the synthesis of feminine and masculine, on the reverse, easied the look making the silhouette gentle and wider. Cashmere capes, floating silk jacquards and pleated dresses gave a sophisticated movement to the look. The designers proposed a new shape that emphasised the woman's body: a classic man’s jacket look undone by a subtly contoured feminine waist, whose outline was also recalled in a little black embroidered dress worn on cigarette trousers. The signature contrast between their severity and playful details worked very well and gave an overall relaxed look. As British singer Tanita Tikaram would have said: "More than twist in my sobriety", from her 1988 hit.
Alessandro Dell’Acqua celebrated N.21's 10th anniversary and, for the occasion, he went back to the brand's DNA recalling all its signature styles. The look was bourgeois with punk raids where pins, decorations on jackets and his famous knitwear were used in composition in order to create metal flowers that lost their disruptive approach and became mere ornaments. Big chains added an aggressive yet chic touch to the deep cleavage dresses and accessories. “The men’s pinstriped shirt became my obsession for this show,” explained the designer backstage. “I made it oversize to be worn as a dress or just underneath a dress or a pullover. Together with it I rethought my codes, the feathers as details or in a full beige evening short dress, the laces, the sequins.” Dell’Acqua is bringing back the minimal yet sensual women he became famous for, but he should dare a bit more to turn the wicked bourgeoisie he loves so much into a more modern style that could become an upgrade of his aesthetic.
After work, businesswomen turn into glamorous freaks for a disco evening. This is the Alberta Ferretti woman for this season. The daywear had a strong 80s influence, wide shapes with big-shouldered blouson, jackets and coats, high-waisted trousers and slouchy boots came straight from the images of fashion magazines from those years. However, they were a bit too literal even though, at first sight, the look could be catchy for young generations. Despite the show, the nostalgia vibe made the daywear part a bit outdated. The palette ranged from black to gray with checked masculine wools plus some flashed of red, mauve, blue and purple. Then, suddenly, the evening twist with metallic jumpsuits, suits, embroideries and liquid dresses in silver fabric popped out, but it sounded a bit disconnected with the rest of the show.