The sun descending in the west
The evening star does shine
The birds are silent in their nest
And I must seek for mine.
And so begins Gucci’s Ready to Wear Spring Summer show in Milan this week. An ever enigmatic Florence Welch recites William Blake’s Night over anthemic, pulsing strings. Lush pink banquettes line the Gucci striped carpet, and models emerge onto the catwalk through a 70’s inspired beaded curtain comprised of hundreds of mirrored tiles. A pink haze envelopes the theatre, the air is thick with rosy white smoke, obscuring the impossibly ornate pieces in this collection.
Alessandro Michele continues his reinvigoration of the Gucci brand since his appointment in early 2015. The pairing of William Blake and Florence Welch matches this season’s aesthetic perfectly-as Michele continues to embrace the dark romantic.
Tiered, tulle frocks emblazoned with glittering sequins bridged the gap between Victorian macabre and 1980’s opulence. Over half of the models had their solemn faces obscured by those enduring, oversized Gucci glasses, so favoured by the street style set. A few more were equally shrouded beneath voluminous hats of thick silk brocade. With most of the decision’s Michele makes one can only assume this was deliberate, perhaps to further represent the titular theme, “Magic Lanterns”. This title, paired with the Romantic era poetry and florid lighting suggests a pair of rose-coloured glasses unto the viewer, a skewed perception of reality only appreciable in dreams.
Certain pieces highlight the reason behind the brand’s popularity with today’s street style It girls and boys. An orange fur coat embellished with symmetrical zebras stands out-sure to make an appearance during the New York winter.
Structured bags featuring the classic GG jacquard alongside embroidered flowers, chains and snakeskin perfectly embody the brand’s unique meshing of styles in one statement piece.
An endearing secret is visible only upon close inspection of a Mandarin collared dress. Hidden amongst the Asian silkscreen inspired embroidery is several images of Disney’s Donald Duck.
In the show notes Michele invites us to “cultivate the unexpected”, a coy soundbite that aptly sums up the Gucci aesthetic under his reign. Sweet cotton candied coloured silk bows are paired with muted menswear inspired separates, black tied men are adorned in pink flowered trench coats; velvet platforms festooned with gold dragons and cherry blossoms are matched with mirror tiled pencil skirts.This eclecticism continues throughout the show as flowing dresses are nestled between androgynous suits, and 1980’s silhouettes march beside 1970’s denim flared jeans. Presented out of context these pieces may seem dissonant, chaotic even, but under Michele even the most dichotomous themes appear harmonious.
Is it this synchronicity that so inspires the fashion set to invest in Gucci pieces? It cannot be denied that Alessandro Michele’s whimsy has proven profitable for Kering, with registered sales of €3.9 billion euros last year, an increase of 11.5% over the previous year. In June, CEO Marco Bizzarri announced plans to grow the brand by double the market average, forecasting revenues to a staggering €6 billion euros in the undetermined future.
With such coveted, Instagrammable pieces present in this collection it is likely Bizzarri’s forecast may prove correct for this exciting brand.