EVER SINCE his debut AW15 fashion show for the brand, Alessandro Michele has never failed to keep all the Gucci enthusiasts out there on their toes. Whether it is models carrying replicas of their heads on the catwalk or the pussy-bow shirt revelation at Westminster Abbey 2017 show, Michele has always transformed presentations of his collections into a spectacle.
This year during Milan Fashion Week, Gucci abandoned the traditional concept of catwalks for a more theatrical and intimate experience. Even before the show itself, guests were invited to attend via WhatsApp voice message that Michele recorded himself, believing it to be a more personal approach to his audience. As the guests started arriving to the show space, they found themselves entering backstage to be seated, an intentional move by Michele to initiate a conversation about the current structure and overall relevance of catwalks today. The next grand reveal happened to be the nucleus of the Michele’s discussion.
Having been seated at the staging area, the guests were stunned to find out that there was no catwalk as such – instead Michele opted for a circular, carousel-like platform, turning itself clockwise. Inside the carousel Michele stationed models as well as their hair and make-up stylists, doing final touch-ups right in front of the audience – a clever way of showing that fashion isn’t just about the clothes or the show. It is about the creative and developing process behind the garments and models, and fashion show is only a small part of a wider fashion story.
“[The show] pauses over improbability. It caresses a nostalgia of the human, that others call imperfection. It sews with the accuracy of love, the tiniest details of the scene in order to offer them to a community of interpreters,” comments Michele in his opening notes on the choice of setting and pace of his latest show.
The AW20 of Gucci was intrinsically Michele. Inspired by vintage children’s clothing, models were seen sporting stylish variations of school uniforms, vintage dresses, and overall doll-like garments. There was something very ‘freaks and geeks’ with a slight sense of perversion in Gucci’s AW20 collection, especially as the models wearing these uniforms were very much grown up.
The audience, or “emancipated spectators”, as Michele calls them, at this carousel of fashion was no less of a spectacle. With Florence and the Machine’s lead singer Florence Welch, Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, and K-pop star Lee Ji-eun (IU) dressed head to toe in Gucci, the FROW was stunningly star-studded. Gucci’s long-standing muse Dakota Johnson also made an appearance, wearing GG tulle lingerie-like bodysuit under a Gucci suit.
The entire setting of Gucci AW20, from the circus-like interior and sound of Ravels Boléro accompanying the show to the audience, definitely will go down as one of Michele’s most eccentric and engaging fashion experiences with Gucci. “I decided to unveil what lies behind the curtains. May the miracle of skilful hands and holding breath come out of the shadows,” concluded Michele.