Going gaga for Gucci: label’s cruise 2017 collection is bold, bad and beautiful

Alessandro Michele’s 1970s-inspired mash-up of florals and frills, quirky hats and heritage pieces seemed to capture zeitgeist and fired up social media

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 June, 2016, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 June, 2016, 8:01pm

To the sound of a haunting alto voice singing Scarborough Fair, models walked the ancient stone cloisters of London’s Westminster Abbey for Gucci’s cruise 2017 show wearing geeky vintage glasses, oversized bows, loud florals and frills.

It’s a peculiar aesthetic that has become familiar, cultish and one of the most distinctive “looks” in fashion today. It’s excessive, ’70s-inspired, at times beautiful and bold, at others verging on bad taste, and presented with perhaps a dash of irony.

It’s creator? Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, of course – a man who was greatly inspired by Gucci under Tom Ford and entered the job not in entirely perfect circumstances when it was left vacant by Frida Giannini, Ford’s successor. Since taking over the Italian label, people have marvelled at the way Michele has charmed almost an entire industry, while bringing in a way of dressing that breaks old rules.

How exactly? Certainly, in person, his unpretentious and charming character remains refreshing in a sea of highly strung, uptight fashion types. But looking at how quickly fashion embraced his romanticism, emotional designs and collections, it seems that the scene was ripe for a change. And there has been a huge response to Michele’s highly stylised vintage mixes with bookish chic and sexy lace; his quirky hats and accessories, employing reworked heritage motifs like the brand’s classic GG logo, have made the look almost cultish. The new Gucci tribe is as compelling as ever for the fashion-conscious.

This cruise show bore further testament to the transformation Michele has worked on the brand and its image since taking the helm a year and a half ago. He has engineered a lightning turnaround for the popular Italian heritage label; from struggling to tap the zeitgeist, Gucci has become the hottest fashion ticket in town.

Michele’s romantic eccentricity appeals to younger fashion fans – but it’s the undeniable ‘Instagrammability’ (for lack of a better word) of his colourful combinations that has made #Gucci spread like wildfire on social media. This point, as superficial as it might seem, can’t be ignored given digital’s current hold over the fashion industry, its clients and the fashion press.

Gucci’s creative director seems to have become more brazen with each collection, this latest one casting off the pared-down look in favour of street-inspired, elaborately decorated and outrageously bold styles. The label’s eclectic fans are still going gaga for it. Having dispensed with the cold, disciplined minimalism of recent years, today’s fashion seems to be relishing in the emotion, visual overstimulation and yes, messiness, of it all.