For its first show without Alessandro Michele at the helm, Gucci turned to its archives for inspiration. Here are the 5 biggest takeaways.
It was Gucci’s first show without Alessandro Michele
Gucci’s first standalone men’s show in the post-pandemic world was also the house’s first after the departure of Alessandro Michele in November last year. But rather than ignoring the shift in artistic direction, the design team—many of whom have been at the house for decades—tackled the situation with authenticity and consideration. “Improvisation is an act of collaboration,” the show notes declared, offering a glimpse into the team resourcefulness that had driven the show. Reflecting on improvisation as a craft—as a practice that can only be carried out by people with skill and experience—Gucci devoted the collection to what they called “the aesthetics of improvisation”: a freestyled, free-spirited look founded in the character of the individual who wears it.
It featured a performance by Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog
Staged in the Gucci Hub in Via Mecenate, the models circled a big round platform. On top of it was the band Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog—fronted by the man whose name it carries—who performed a live orchestration interpreting the theme of improvisation. It drew on elements of jazz and punk exemplary of the point Gucci was making: music genres in which the untrained ear can’t detect a system, but which require the utmost skill and precision. As the show progressed, the arrangement expanded in sound, culminating in an invigorating climax. Like the collection, the performance marked a departure from the musical influences of Michele’s work, and Gucci’s choice to change things up rather than emulating what had been felt like the right way to go forward.
The collection was based on the aesthetics of improvisation
The show opened with a series of archetypal garments: a white T-shirt, a formal trouser, a long skirt, an overcoat, a check suit, a denim trouser. But through the lens of improvisation—of self-expression—each classic wardrobe staple had been warped, either magnified or twisted in construction, or imbued with dynamic elements of customization. Tailoring was expanded in volume and elongated for a legs-for-days effect that was ever so statuesque, and served as a contrast to body-conning tops. Scarves that evoked the feeling of vintage or archival finds were integrated into denim trousers and bags, as well as the padding of a down jacket, in ways that conjured improvised self-customization. At the core of these looks was a message of individuality: the expressions of the designers who had collaborated on the collection, and the imagined self-expression of the people who will wear them.
It celebrated the Gucci archives
Delving into the archives was a natural point of departure for a collection that signified an interval for Gucci. While the house awaits its next artistic director, the design team had looked to the history that defines it. It was suggested in the 1980s silhouettes that appeared towards the end of the show— dance clothes, leg warmers, gilet tracksuits, soft ankle boots—and in the Tom Ford-centric references that made nostalgic Y2K hearts grow fonder. Next to washed, almost golden denim trousers, those included motorcycle jackets and trousers in leather, which paved the way for oversized coveralls. One was crafted in black Crystal GG canvas, a lacquered take on the house’s monogram cloth that also appeared in accessories.
Gucci’s signature accessories had been imbued with age and soul
Revealing themselves under the flared volumes of the collection’s formidable trousers, new interpretations of Gucci’s furry Princetown slippers had expanded in size for a vintage effect that embodied a feeling of wardrobe pieces imbued with age and soul. It was echoed in Horsebit loafers crafted in materials like corduroy, and in bags increased in dimension but relaxed in construction. They included holdalls and new versions of the Jackie and Dionysus that appeared in faded pastels, the Crystal GG canvas, shearling and crocodile, as well as coated canvas garments begging to be carried through an airport lounge. As the icons of Gucci’s history, the accessories were a reminder of the eternal blood that courses through the veins of this house and the incredible archives a new artistic director will soon have the privilege of adapting.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.