Michele fetes Gucci’s century with fetish cosmography collection and Balenciaga linkup
Gucci celebrates its 100th anniversary this year; and designer Alessandro Michele has observed the birthday by creating his best ever collection for the house.
A show video named 'Aria,' unveiled Thursday evening replete with lots of in-jokes, like the horse racing helmets bearing the name Savoy Club, which is where the DNA of Gucci was first born. As a young man in the early 1900s, Guccio Gucci toiled as bellhop in the grand London hotel, admiring the wealth and style of European notables, and sensing he could build a brand devoted to satisfying their desire for elegant luxury.
This latest collection, revealed in a 15-minute video, also heralded Gucci’s link-up with Balenciaga, another fashion house within the stable of luxury conglomerate Kering. From the hacking jackets, blazers and parkas emblazoned with competing Balenciaga and double-'G' logos to the black leather logo satchel, they all looked like surefire winners.
Michele’s Savoy Club was a backstreet disco, and not a five-star hotel on The Strand. While the flashing lights and occasional paparazzi appearance in the video flick, directed by Floria Sigismondi, were also a nod to the film The House of Gucci. A dark murder story currently being shot in Italy, which stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, which recounts how Guccio’s grandson Maurizio was murdered by contract killers hired by his estranged wife.
“Here it comes, with the precision of a toll. This birthday. One hundred years have gone. One hundred revolutions questioning the flow of time,” wrote Michele in his program notes, which referenced philosophers and writers.
Gucci’s equestrian roots were also apparent with a series of great jockey jerseys, several of which morphed into cocktail dresses finished with high Edwardian men’s collars. For guys and girls. Or a box-cut master-of-the-hunt four-pocket jacket, in a collection, where half the looks were anchored by riding boots, trimmed with ankle straps and buckles. Michele even invented swish new jodhpurs, finished with front pleats, playing on his androgynous aesthetic.
Scores of ensembles were accessorized with horse harnesses, bits, girths, winker stays, collars and bolt draughts. The cast marching through a giant tunnel of glittering lights to a soundtrack that trumpeted the brand’s mystique in popular culture – from Lil Pump’s 'Gucci Gang' to Bhad Bhabie’s 'Gucci Flip Flops.'
The tailoring was excellent throughout - most notably a flared military great coat gathered at one side with seven gold buttons; a series of languid double-breasted suits with rippling trousers; or several glittering topcoats referencing the rombi motif that Guccio invented. In a neat tip of his designer hat, these riffed on Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia’s maximalist silhouette.
While for evening, Alessandro went into overdrive with uber-glam lace tops with marabou-feather sleeves, worn over sequined palazzo pants; or a magnificent crystal mesh and chain dress, whose model carried a red diamanté purse shaped like a real heart with protruding arteries. The collection also featured Gucci’s fine jewelry collection seen in golden twig brooches; diamond chokers; cascading necklaces, bulky cardinal’s rings and Rajasthan princess-worthy double-'G' nose rings.
Michele was in such self-confident form he reprised a classic Tom Ford red velvet lounge-lizard suit, for guys and girls, but made them his own with a dynamic cut, horse-harness accessories and S&M chokers. His gentle sense of humor apparent, in the white rabbit cradled in the arms of a purple-haired model on a logo-mania jacket, hot pants and boots combo in this gently transgressive tour de force.
“In a sense , Gucci becomes for me a hacking lab, made of incursions and metamorphoses. An alchemical factory of contaminations where everything connects to anything… Crossing this threshold, I have plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford; I have lingered over the anthropological implications of what shines, working on the brightness of fabrics; I have celebrated the equestrian world of Gucci transfiguring it into a fetish cosmography; I have sublimated Marilyn Monroe’s silhouette and old Hollywood’s glamour; I have sabotaged the discreet charm in the bourgeoisie and the codes of men’s tailoring,” insisted the designer. One could not agree more.
Everything built into a climax in his video, as the dashing and gorgeous cast drifted out of the Savoy Club into an Arcadian garden replete with white peacocks, cockatoos and stallions, before all the models floated off into space.
Matter of fact, the next time anyone tries to tell you that Michele repeats himself in too many collections, tell them to check out this show video. Talk about a great way to celebrated Gucci’s century.
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