There’s no doubting Alessandro Michele’s fast track stardom and influence on the new direction for Gucci, all gawky gangly geek meets a riot mayhem of fabric clash. A fact re-exemplified in Gucci’s newly released Pre Fall ‘16 collection.
While this label and creative director may be grabbing all the headlines for the new life breathed into the label which mixes super Italian luxury with London styling, it’s the ‘London styling’ part I have issues with. Yes, he may be the BFC’s International Designer of the Year (a pre-curser to Gucci showing its Pre Collection SS’17 in the Capital) and the current darling of tout le fashion monde but it’s worth considering if this is merely a case of shock factor. The change in direction and pace has been fast since Frida Giannini’s departure.
There is no doubt that Michele has managed to cleverly involve and evolve Gucci’s ‘70s height-of-its-fame heritage with more Gucci branded accessories that you can shake a stick at. Gucci branded sticks at that. But…there’s a part of me, this avid Gucci lover, this devotee, this magpie, this lover of chic geek styling that recoils. Too contrived, too painfully styled and over-executed, too plied with accessories, too fashion stream of consciousness, too, too much, too soon? Who knows? If Alessandro can reign it in, strip it back a bit and take steer instead of splurging so many ideas in so many directions in his just-clash-everything-whatevs, his authenticity would shine through more brightly.
On the other hand, we have Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta. Another super Italian house that’s had a shake up and is using its history to drive forward its luxury aesthetic while striving for a new international audience. Here lies control. And, if he doesn’t quite have the eclectic energy and pace of Michele, there is a very controlled and clear storyline that plays the sophisticate if not the street-wise card. Maier’s colour blocking, fluidity and prints were evocative of a Jane Fonda ‘Klute’ moment with stiff leather jackets and simplistic ‘70s styling.
This was chic geekdom in extremis. Not so obvious, not so shock girly look-at-me. Maier’s talent lies in his ability to combine function with trend, beauty with luxury ease-of-wear. Female geography teacher geometric prints never looked so appealing.