27/01/2016

MEMORABILIA

When I was a kid, my mother had a friend that you could define as completely eccentric. She was crazy but so funny & kind. Each time, we visited her it was quite an event! We knew that her house would be filled with gorgeous smells: a mix of candles, the smell of hot cakes she had just baked & her own perfume - Dior Poison if I can remember. Her home was like a museum. Full of the things she had brought back from several trips all over the world. Some expensive. Some completely trivial. But the way she had put them together was absolutely perfect. Tribal masks from New Caledonia. Sea shells from Polynesia. Peruvian panpipes. Indian fabrics. Vietnamese hats and a hundred other objects, among which a lot of them connected to her family past. This memory will always remain just like this woman. You may wonder why I'm telling you this right now instead of talking about Fashion. Don't worry, the transition is coming and it will perfectly make sense in a few seconds! The latest Gucci collection for Autumn Winter 2016 reminds me exactly of this woman. When I watched it, I immediately thought about her and her Ali Baba's Cave. Alessandro Michele's latest effort is as crazy as this beautiful person, as intense, as colourful and full of a brilliant need for MORE! More prints. More embroideries. More must-have pieces. A visual orgasm that would have emerged from a gigantic treasure trunk filled with the souvenirs of a lifetime. 

With Gucci, travelling and collecting is much more than a way of life. It's everywhere on your clothes. It's beautiful. It's quirky. It's fantastic. It's geeky. It's too much but it's never enough. Why gathering memories in your house, your wallet or in your mind, why not wearing them instead? This AW16 collection is all about these precious memories whether they be souvenirs or things belonging to your family for years. The Gucci man (and to a certain extent the Gucci woman: Alessandro Michele is designing for people not for a particular gender hence the presence of Hari Nef) is connected to his past and religiously keeps his "precious". He has traveled the world, he has visited Asia (the dragon/carp/flowers embroideries on the coats, jackets & shirts, the buttonhole details on some jackets...), South America (the bonnets looking like neo Peruvian bonnets/caps deeply embellished to become some kind of monster heads or dragon ones, the kind of dragon you can find in some Chinese celebrations...), North America (the Californian vibes with the sandals, the relaxed silhouettes composed of silky hippy tracksuits &  loose tees, the Amish hats, the shiny cowboy shirts, the incredible work on denim embellished to death...), Europe (with flowery embellishments reminding me of these Austrian traditional outfits, with luxurious embellished fabrics similar to rich tapestries or with a large selection of very British check/tartan prints...). But this collection is not only a travelog, it is also the celebration of persons & characters that are part of a collective unconsciousness: with a tribute to the more than iconic/legendary/genius David Bowie & the GlamRock period, nods to Snoopy or with the spectral appearance of Sherlock Holmes's familiar silhouette. Just like this beautiful button-made embellishments on the blue suits representing a dagger stabbing a heart, my heart is touched and my soul is filled with these wonderful images. 2015 has revealed to the face of the whole world the work of a man who is much more than a garment-maker or an image-maker. Alessandro Michele is a magician whose ability is to mix and match things that should not be mixed & matched, to imagine visual explosions that, as far as I'm concerned, make my mind explode in a million confetti. Of course, the styling is excessive. Of course, the goal is not to look like a cheap and cheerful Christmas tree. But imagine one of these heavenly pieces worn with a more sober look. One of these jackets or coats, for instance, worn with a white tee-shirt, black skinny jeans and a pair of sneakers; the result would be just outstanding. And as long as Gucci & Michele make me dream of this kind of fashion, I'll write about them. Life is too short to obliterate extravaganza & excess!


The Asian Inspirations

Pic by Asia Werbel for LOVE Magazine
All these detail pictures come from Vogue.com

The South American Inspirations

All these detail pictures come from Vogue.com

The North American Inspirations

Pic by Asia Werbel for LOVE Magazine
Pic by Asia Werbel for LOVE Magazine
Pic by Jason Lloyd Evans for I-D
All these detail pictures come from Vogue.com
Pic by Jason Lloyd Evans for I-D

The European Inspirations

Pic by Jason Lloyd Evans for I-D
Pic by Jason Lloyd Evand for I-D
Pic by Asia Werbel for LOVE Magazine
Pic by Jason Lloyd Evans for I-D
All these detail pictures come from Vogue.com

The Tributes

Pic by Jason Lloyd Evans for I-D


All these detail pictures come from Vogue.com

This is a neo Phileas Fogg who is walking this AW16 Gucci catwalk, a person who thinks that the best way to escape this sad reality we're experiencing is to escape through his/her clothes, through heavy embellishments, through an unabashed extravagant spirit & attitude. Here, Alessandro Michele is imagining a kind of neo-Rococo, this art movement born during the 18th century aiming at balancing those troubled & uncertain times with a certain taste for excess, frivolity & cheerfulness. Our days are blacker than ever and many menswear collections have reminded us of the dramatic state of our world (Comme des Garçons, Prada, Walter Van Beirendonck...) but Michele is taking the opposite view here and oddly enough, this excess of everything makes his words even stronger. After all, some sweet memories of a travel on the other side of the world or of a golden era when people knew how to have fun, all these important things (perhaps the most important!) have never killed anybody! So let's celebrate them while there is still time!



Words by Charles Margueritte



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