We need not reiterate that Alessandro Michele’s great success with Gucci is his authenticity. Wandering in awe through the marbles tombs of Westminster Abbey, ornate with gold leaf and jewel-tone paint pigments, muted by centuries of respect and worship and soaring ceilings to some invisible and uniting religious force of art and literature and science (interestingly, Charles Darwin included); and then the following morning, enraptured by Botticelli’s glorious depictions of women as deified cultural figureheads and purveyors of luminous skin; one could so clearly establish the connection between the religious iconography, bold primary colours and opulent embellishment of such an iconic church, and its practice’s painterly glorifiers.
Alessandro himself looks and speaks as though he’s been lifted from an early Renaissance Florentine fresco.
Truthfully, it’s moving.
And all spectating at Gucci’s Resort 2017 show in London were certainly moved, if only by their seismic shift in attitude towards electric purple lace footless tights, and the embroidered green cushions that all guests took home from their seats. Even so, having ninety-seven looks walk over the resting places of significant figures in the English Church was not at all perceived an ostentatious display of luxury in the face of history and religion – rather, and a cinematic and amplifying educator to the masses of jaded industry on why we’re in this crazy game. That is, clothing as an expression of art, history and character.
In this instance, Alessandro chronicle the entire history of British costume, which in retrospect, appears to trill a nostalgic swan song to the rising Great Britain that was (before this past week’s disastrous fall) through everything from the Tudors, to Beefeaters, to our beloved English Rose, to newsboys of the
Industrial Revolution, to Gentleman’s clubs in the West End, to Victorian rigidity, to the East Indian Trading Company, and the Queen’s Range Rover driving attire. Every model bore a backstory, a good neck ruffle or pussy bow, and the house’s best round of leather goods, footwear and eyewear updates I’ve seen this year. And, I’ve no doubt that, in the face of industry turmoil, creative director musical chairs, and every player in the luxury world trying to outplay each other with exotic destinations and fine dining experiences to draw press attention away from their lack of genuine innovation, that the house of Gucci will continue to push the boundaries of what we feel aesthetically comfortable with.
Here’s looking at you, purple leggings.