Alessandro Michele knows how to sabotage the diktats of fashion. In the year of Gucci’s centenary, its creative director decided to dive into the archives, pay a tribute to his predecessors in his own words and even ask for a little help from Demna Gvasalia from Balenciaga (also part of the Kering Group).
“Crossing this threshold, I have plundered the nonconformist rigor of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford; I have lingered over the anthropological implications of what shines, working on the brightness of fabrics; I have celebrated the equestrian world of Gucci transfiguring it into a fetish cosmogony; I have sublimated Marilyn Monroe’s silhouette and old Hollywood’s glamour; I sabotage the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie and the codes of men’s tailoring”, said the notes of the program.
Aria (Air in Italian) was Michele’s vision of Gucci’s evolution (or should we say rebirth?). Past, present, and future in a 15-minute fashion film directed by Michele and director and photographer Floria Sigismondia. It was a sparkly celebration giving a wink to bondage and the equestrian heritage of the house.
The co-ed show was set at the Savoy Club, a fictional nightclub with a neon sign on the outside and full of blinding flashing lights along a pristine catwalk on the inside. That’s a nod to Guccio Gucci, the founder of the Italian house, who worked as a lift boy in his youth at the Savoy Hotel in London, a place that amazed him by its luxury.
The man introducing us to the club, peeking through a peephole and entering through a metal door was in charge of opening the catwalk. He was pulling a red velvet suit with a blue shirt, a reminder of the sexy Tom Ford era at Gucci, accessorized with a BDSM necklace that went down his waist, tinted sunnies, and black leather moccasins. A quirky yet elegant look Michele has already used us to. His walk was marked by the hip-hop Gucci Gang song. Later on, this guy would find her female counterpart in the same red suit.
The equestrian world, that marked Gucci’s origins, was presented in black riding boots, riding helmets with the words “Savoy Club”, and harnesses that became belts and body jewelry.
“In my work, I caress the roots of the past to create unexpected inflorescences, carving the matter through grafting and pruning. I appeal to such ability to reinhabit what has already been given. And to the blending, the transitions, the fractures, the concatenations”, mentioned Michele in a release.
The tailoring was exquisite with pantsuits for men and women in vivid and neutral tones. An androgen model with a beige suit and big sunglasses looked like young Yves Saint Laurent with a middle part (so Gen Z’s right now).
Let’s not forget the head-to-toe Gucci monogram section: it spread in tights, boots, capes, skirts, jackets, and shorts with a brown base. Another sign of Gucci’s distinctive heritage that personally is too traditional for me.
There were also the acid 70’s inspired prints in large coats, graphic suits, and oversized jackets without sleeves.
Whips waving in the air were without a doubt something to remember. Some of the female models hold one in one hand and on the other they were carrying their purses, just like any other accessory. Their serious expressions completed the statement.
Besides, nose rings had a place of their own in the collection, with a double G interlaced logo septum piercing embellishing the girls’ faces. Nevertheless, it looked kind of heavy and painful for this delicate area.
In my opinion, the best element of the collection was the heart-shaped clutches covered in crystals. It was not a romantic declaration, but more of an anatomical one. Veins and arteries were shown. It seemed to capture the precise moment of the pandemic we are living in. They shone in gold, red, aquamarine, and pink tones.
When I think of Alessandro Michele’s contribution to the Italian house, dresses and bags are the first elements to come to my mind. Women in this show were ready to shine and to leave the pandemic behind. The nightlife set the tone of an important part of this runway.
It is worth highlighting a sublime turquoise shimmering dress with a tall white collar, strong shoulder lines, long sleeves, draped around the waist, and an asymmetric hem. The outfit was completed with black riding boots with a red band on the top and a golden heart-shaped clutch. A glorious moment in fashion!
Another impressive look was a fabulous pair of feather trousers displaying a gradation of greens accompanied by a silver corset. Of course, this modern muse was walking on kitten black heels while flogging the whip in her hands.
The Balenciaga “hack”, where Alessandro Michelle took Denma Gvasalia’s oversized characteristic silhouettes to reinterpret them, was a hit. Bags, coats, showed the logo of both fashion houses. A special mention goes to the shining silver skirt suit with a side slit wore with a white shirt and silver boots and clutch. Somehow this suit talked business to me.
“To escape the reactionary cages of purity, I pursue a poetics of the illegitimate. In this sense, Gucci becomes for me a hacking lab, made of incursions and metamorphoses. An alchemical factory of contaminations where everything connects to anything”, said Michele.
The recognizable Balenciaga boxy silhouette with a lot of volume on the shoulders was adapted to a more feminine style, even in an all-over floral print suit.
Lace was skillfully used in delicate dresses like the see-through one in nude tones with feathers all along the sleeves, a generous cleavage on the front and open on the side. The apparent brown underwear made a harmonious contrast.
The final look was timeless. It showed that long pleated skirts are not going anywhere. The gown consisted of a pleated golden skirt with a v plunging black top with straps on the back, and black feathers covering the arms.
Once all the cast walked the runway, they waited for a moment in a dark backstage. Then, the girl in the nude lace dress opened the door to redeem her team. They reached daylight in a sunny garden with white peacocks, white cockatoos, white rabbits, and white horses. There, they can kiss and caress each other. It was like the end of social distancing and the pandemic. The sexual tension was at its maximum at this point.
Finally, they can also breathe. We can see the wind gently blowing their clothes. And then, suddenly, they started to gracefully levitate. The video finished with the silver heart-shaped clutch flying in the air. A call for freedom and creativity.