Everybody knows by now that Gucci‘s new front man, Alessandro Michele is a very different creature to his predecessor, Frida Giannini. His show venue this morning couldn’t have looked more different to the kind of lacquered, glossed-up arena preferred by Giannini. An exposed-brick walled warehouse carpeted in an ad hoc arrangement of Moroccan souk rugs and toile du jouy upholstered chairs. But, this being Gucci, after all, means there is still room for grandeur: like the fact that the power house closed off West 22nd Street in Manhattan this morning to stage its cruise show. Natch.
Regardless, one can’t underestimate the colossal gearshift – and the guts it has taken to execute it – in steering this juggernaut house in an entirely new direction. And yet, ask laidback Michele about that backstage today, dressed in a white baggy t-shirt, grey jeans, his fingers loaded with chunky gold and silver rings, and he smiles, “It means to have fun.” The weight of expectation from Gucci execs, customers, and critics alike, and the pressure of meeting sales targets don’t for a second seem to enter his remit. And thankfully so, because it means he can get on with designing some pretty awesome clothes.
Individuality, a message that he successfully built his autumn/winter debut upon continued here this morning. “Everybody wants to be special, especially a woman – when you go out, you want to feel special – it makes no sense to look like everyone else,” he said. And so colours continued to clash and delight, and nerdy-looking models, often bespectacled, or wearing knitted tea cozy hats, headscarves styled like Her Majesty the Queen, corsages, or bridesmaid-y floral silk headpieces had the same air of gawkiness.
They walked out from a building opposite, casually crossed the road, and made their way into the warehouse. A message about street style? Clothes for real life, perhaps? “You have to be chic and rich in the street – you are your own character and there is freedom in what you wear and where you go. You don’t have to wait for your date, you can go out when you want,” he described.
It was innately feminine (Michele “loves” women) youthful and gentle, and a show that had hit after hit: romantic dresses with dandy necklines decorated in flouncy ruffles, mustard mini pleated skirt suits, poetic Princess Diana-style shirt dresses made in sheer silk, along with some prize mink coats modernised for now with impressive intarsias. Everything looked thrown-together-cool, and in a believable manner – like the girls themselves had stumbled upon the best vintage store and emerged triumphant, or climbed into the attic of a wealthy, incredibly well dressed aunt.
Michele also reworked Gucci’s signature red and green web, rendering it in lurex to cuff sleeves. And those bags, from shoppers embossed in big GUCCI letters to flowery printed rectangular shapes you’ll be wanting any one of those too.