A New, Darker Romanticism for Gucci at Milan Fashion Week SS17

Alessandro Michele is doing wonderful things after acquiring the realms as Creative Director of what had become a conservative, to put it bluntly, dull and uninteresting Gucci. His radicalisation of the house, fearlessness in staying true to himself, maximalist approach has proven exceptionally well so far into his tenure at Gucci. This is a creative, well and truly hitting his stride just over one and a half years and eleven collections in. The reason for Gucci's quick rise to success, again I feel is due to it being completely Alessandro's own aesthetic, his budding spirit to pile it all on and to style. The setting, a 70's nightclub, the boudoir-pink velvet banquettes, mirrors, blood-red lighting, a white miss imitates cigarette smoke and glittering with more than 250,000 mirrored sequins that move and reflect. If not a nightclub, then definitely a high-class house of ill repute. A beautifully twisted scenario in my eyes. Something isn't quite right, "You know, when you're in love, in a nightclub, but you are not in the right place, the person is not there?" said Alessandro Michele. A creepy, eerie atmosphere made even more unsettling by choice of a Steve Mackey soundtrack, like a score from The Silence of the Lambs made all the more intense and heart pounding with church bells and the vocals of a choir, all behind the spoken words of English poet William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience" read out by Florence Welsh. Written in the 18th Century, this collection of poems explores the two states of the human soul. Alessandro Michele has an undying love for Britain, all of his collections are styled in way of a preppy English individual and he even staged his 96-look Gucci resort 2017 collection in Westminster Abbey.

This scene of beauty, romance and heartbreak trickled down to the overly-embellished yet fabulous Gucci wardrobe, one tiered gown featured a giant red embroidered heart, only to be pierced by a jewelled dagger with the numerals "XXV" inside the heart. If you're unaware as to why twenty-five? It's Alessandro Michele's lucky number and is included in name of his personal Instagram account (@lallo25). There was also an Asian vibe that ran throughout the entire collection, some models held embroidered fans as they walked down the runway, fans that featured the words "Gucci" and "Loves." The clothes, many of which were inspired by traditional Chinese garb, all made from pink silk and printed with pagodas, cherry blossoms and bonsai trees, some coats were cut into kimonos and gowns, cheongsam style. A huge trend, that Gucci actually helped shape was motifs of dragons, tigers, lions, koi carp. Foo Dogs and the Chinese lucky cat even made an appearance. My favourite part of the Gucci Spring/Summer 2017 collection however, was that it had a new, darker, gothic romanticism to it, strangely beautiful if you will, as if Alessandro Michelle's Gucci muse had died a long time ago and that this was her spirit. Just remind yourself of the words "Cemetery" and "Future" that were written on clothes, belts and handbags, and whereas one coat resembled a love note that looked like it may or may not have been written in the blood of a former lover. A white fur with red type. A calling card perhaps, but as extraordinary as always. The word "phantasmagoria" was also referenced. What also got me thinking of this, was the platformed footwear. Before the show, Michele knelt and picked up an example of a black patent 5-inch wedge and black velvet upper, which was embroidered with a gold snake. "Prostitutes in Venice used to wear these," he exclaimed. The spirit of these glamorous, streetwalkers from the 15th Century connected the dots between the clothes, the setting and the references to love, but also not real love, and death. It also led to this romanticised vision of a person who had become obsessed and their victim. An unsettling love story. This was exactly the type of collection I have been longing for since Alessandro Michele's appointment as Creative Director of Gucci. 

Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway

The Wolf of High Street


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