Gucci – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear
Gucci joined the spare-no-expense Resort show club today, flying guests in from around the world to see its new creative director Alessandro Michele’s second women’s ready-to-wear collection for the brand, and closing down West 22nd Street for the occasion. As the lights, music, and garage doors came up on a crowd that included Dakota Johnson and her Fifty Shades of Grey director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, as well as fellow Kering designers Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra, the show’s 62 male and female models began emerging from a building across the street.
Michele’s Gucci is colorful, eccentric, and unabashedly retro. He took some hits for the vintage feel of his clothes after his February go-around, but he’s not backing away from the look. Resort is very much an extension of his first collection for Fall, but he made a stronger case for the new mood today. The extra months he had to prepare no doubt helped in that regard. So too, he hinted in conversation earlier this week, has the support of Gucci’s CEO, Marco Bizzarri.
The show started with a chevron-stripe dress: long-sleeved, just south of the knees, and easily the most sober look of the bunch. After that Michele let his freak flag fly, lifting thigh-high shift dresses from the ’60s, cutting separates in lamé and Lurex-shot knits that owed more to the ’70s, and even embracing kitschy Americana in the form of a lace dress with Western shirt detailing. Embroidered patches were everywhere, from the bodice of a floaty evening dress to a man’s corduroy jean jacket, and there was no shortage of jewels, either: The models wore handfuls of rings, and pearls dangled from ears as well as the straps of lace-up gillies. Fur played a starring role, but there was nothing self-serious about Michele’s approach, as an astrakhan coat in electric fuchsia with a zigzagging brown mink hem made evident. Joining the boyish, slightly ill-fitting pantsuits from Fall were trim little skirtsuits in crochet or curly lamb with jeweled frogging closures. Androgyny is central to his message, but so is a slightly offbeat aristocratic kind of glamour.
As unexpected as it is after 10 years of Frida Giannini, Michele’s vision makes a sort of sense for Gucci, which has been catering to aristocracy of the European and Hollywood kind since its jet-set heyday in the ’60s and ’70s. But heritage talk aside, this was the kind of collection that the fashion crowd really gets excited about. You can carp all you want about fashion’s current retro obsession—I know I have. As we’ve witnessed with Kering sister label Saint Laurent, where Hedi Slimane is operating along similar vintage-focused lines, we all shoot the hell out of it, and, more critically, we want to wear it.