A symbolic new chapter for the Gucci consumer and creative director Alessandro Michele’s vision of the Italian house he revolutionized a mere five years ago, the brand’s spring/summer 2020 collection was a contemporary reimaging of his trademark desings, iconic eccentricities and highly stylized runway looks.
The show commenced with a parade of models – male and female – outfitted in all white ensembles, moving uniformly down a kinetic runway; a symbolic, visual pallet cleanser for the collection to come. As color, patterns and varrying silhouettes emerged from backstage, it was clear that Michele was taking a ‘sex sells’ approach to the season. Not in an overtly errotic, body-con fashion, of course, but rather an illumination of the sexy that exists in the strange. Michele’s collection urges the viewer to consider that perhaps quirk doesn’t negate sex appeal, and there may even be something quite errotic about the self expression of eccentricity – the key to a true moment of paradox is the revelation that the two ends are closer than we perceived.
Sexy-by-way-of-erotica manifested itself through whips and choker necklaces, as well as sheer fabrics, lace slips, and flattering silhouettes. Meanwhile, the collections more ‘subdude’ ensembles were monocromatic, vibrant dresses, and colorful, patterned suits, styled with the season’s standout oversized eyewear and complimnetary, chunky chains.
An element of Michele’s ‘genius’ must lie in his mastery of balancing provocative, forward thinking designs while paying homage to the brand’s roots. Here, the designer heard the cries of “But what will he do next?” and chose to introduce a new aesthetic and direction. Still, he nods towards the brand’s former creative directors, not through delicate florals and horsebits, but by way of throwback homages. Michele takes inspiration from what he sees as the brand’s “good old days,” the 70s and the 90s. The collection is rooted in silhouette and strategically bold colors, including ‘Gucci Red’ and ‘Gucci Green’. Labels are highlighted in a whoopsie-daisy sort of wink with tags stitched onto the outside of garments – a la Martin Margiela. This, by the way, is among several examples of how the collection shows off an ability to be both artful and marketable.
So, as we head into the Spring of 2020 and look to Gucci for guidance, consider this show a message from the messiah. First, he cleansed our pallette of the ‘Michele Gucci’ we thought we knew all to well, and brought us something quite wonderfully new. Reach for those sheer fabrics, 70s suits, fun silhouettes and color combinations. Bend the lines of gender and rules. Be sexy AND be strange.