For those who are enthusiastic readers of our blog, reading about Gucci here may seem weird. Indeed, in almost 3 years (time flies!) we've never written about the Italian house. Not because we did not like what Frida Giannini was doing but more because it did not interest us. It was not ugly or bad it was just Gucci: boring, always the same, 70s, 70s, 70s (the period Gucci launched its first ready to wear collection). The last two seasons of the designer were even worse as if she, herself, knew that something was going wrong, that she had lost her mojo by proposing clothes that customers/buyers did not want anymore. The once goose that laid the golden egg was no more for Kering, leaving the emply space to Hedi Slimane and his "vision" for Saint Laurent. Gucci was no longer the house it had been in the 90s with the Tom Ford's reboot, the Porno Chic...etc. It was just a Sleeping Beauty that had lost its pro-activity in favour of other fashion houses such as Prada that had understood fashion had changed and that a constant renewal with strong statements was needed. Something needed to be done. A breath of fresh air was inevitable and vital, Ms Giannini and her husband (the CEO of Gucci) had to leave.
This rebirth found its origins in the person of Alessandro Michele who, under the reign of Frida Giannini, was in charge of the accessories. The 42-year old designer made his debut during the Men's Fashion Week back in January where he presented a collection made in only 5 days. This collection was a radical departure from what had been done before with androgynous silhouettes & models and more feminine fabrics (silk, lace, fur...) & prints. This was the Act One of the Gucci Renascimineto. The Act Two is the womenswear collection presented a few days ago in Milan, a "no gender" collection with bold statement pieces, a strong point of view (what we are normally waiting from a creative director) and an introductory sentence in the form of a Giorgio Agamben's quotation "Those who are truly contemporary are those who neither perfectly coincide with their time nor adapt to its demands". This is the basis. In fashion, to be able to overcome the heavy weight of designing clothes that will both sell and talk to experts, you have to know the past to build a future. Take Raf Simons at Dior, Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton or Alexander Wang at Balenciaga, that's what they did. You just cannot ignore what has been done. This is not a question of being backward-looking, this is just the best way to tame the codes and stick to the DNA. With Michele's arrival, the aim of Kering is clearly to rejuvenate the clientele and to "dust" Gucci. They want and need a new Saint Laurent with a boom in sales & profits but here, the newly-appointed designer knows a pressure that Hedi Slimane did not experience at his arrival in the Rive Gauche maison. He is unknown contrary to Slimane who had and still has a huge and faithful tribe of adepts who would buy anything that has been designed by him. We guess that Alessandro Michele must be outstandingly talented if Kering appointed him and gave him the keys and command of Gucci. And yes he is! And yes he has completely dusted the Milanese house in only one womenswear collection!
It's all about contrast in this Gucci collection, assembling things that don't usually match, for a young, free, fresh, modern and rebellious spirit reminding us, in a way, of what is happening at MBMJ. Alessandro Michele's aim is not to be literal with this AW15 collection and he seems to say "never judge a book by its cover". Nothing can be taken for granted as there is always a subtext in each silhouette. For instance, a sexy look consisting of a sheer top and a velvet long skirt will be distorted by a red beret and a satin bow tie covering the tits. Sexy which is the Gucci DNA is never completely sexy here, there is always something more. In the same way, the sexiest outfits (the transparent lacy dresses or tops) are by the presence of glasses giving immediately a nerdy vibe to the silhouette. This sexy/not sexy thing is also a play on daywear/eveningwear mixing day elements (beret/ bonnet...) with evening ones (lace, fur, sequins, glitter fabrics...) Femininity is exacerbated but never vulgar in this collection, there is something soft and sweet, nothing hard or too brutal. It must lie in the choice of the models. Contrary to the Frida Giannini era where girls where super confident, super sexy and super fit, here the girls are more "normal", girls next door, incarnations of Margot Tennenbaum (a recurrent figure in fashion nowadays). In the same way that sexy is "nerdified", the most masculine piece are softened. Thus, the military coats and costumes are embellished by fur appliqués on the sleeves or on the waist to give a genuine feminine touch along with a sense of opulence. Don't forget, you are at Gucci. Everything must say "LUXURY!" And it does not only with the help of fur but also with the accumulation of "costume jewelleries" (rings, necklaces, brooches, earrings or headbands) This sense of luxury is also to be found in the outstanding embroideries. Here it's a large bird on the waist of a dress (a fusion of a dress and a blazer, absolutely beautiful!) or on a skirt, there a bee on a bag (by the way, the bags too have endured an extreme makeover to become desirable again and that is a tour de force!) And it ends with an embroidery galore in the form of a must-have, must-watch, must-admire, must-touch sweater filled with Japan-inspired embellishments (flowers, snakes, insects and birds) that, we're sure of it, will inhabit the dreams of a large number of fashionistas. Only for this reason, Michele's mission is a success because he has managed to put Gucci back under the spotlights with a collection full of desirable items (this magical sweater, the pleated dresses & skirts, the furry shoes, the flower-printed pieces...) and with this hint of retrofutur, that makes buyers/customers crave for clothes these days. It's completely actual, modern but it doesn't forget where it comes from, its roots. In that way, Kering's choice is more that accurate and wise, the appointment of Alessandro Michele seems now like an obvious choice to put Gucci back on track and most important to make it sexy again.
The Detail Pictures were taken by Federico Ferrari for Another Magazine
All the other Pictures come from Dazed