I couldn’t let Alessandro Michele’s latest menswear outing pass without comment. Having been quite vocal about Gucci’s new direction, if you can call Michele’s particular brand of faux vintage “new”, I’ve had to eat my words. Not much, a bite-size portion of attrition.
Apparently inspired by the English eccentricity, and Gucci’s forthcoming Cruise show in London’s Westminster Abbey, the collection runs the gamut from Brideshead toffs to Brighton mods, via the sartorial snarl of punk bleachers and bovver boots. I guess that Vivienne Westwood is the archetypal shorthand for English Eccentric these days.
At first glance, this collection seems a lot more “street”. Not the contrived “street style” that’s informed Michele’s everything-with-a-hat-and-a-bag dressing, but actual looks that me and my friends might wear. Recognisable Michele-isms, like the now ubiquitous souvenir jacket and those silly fur slippers, make another appearance, as do those louche, loose silk shirts, but Gucci’s creative director would be a poor businessman if he ignored these Instagram-baiting items. Still, sweatshirts and hoodies seem fresh for a designer who swans around a Roman palace looking like Charles Manson let loose in a jumble sale.
Of course, there’s far too much of everything, although Gucci isn’t in the same position as Burberry, which has announced its intention to cut back product lines, and some of the suiting harks back to Frida Giannini’s aimless pilotage. Unsurprising considering Michele was her head of accessories. As for said bags, expect to see everyone who thinks they’re anyone carrying one next summer, such is their white-hot covetability.
Beyond the excess, there’s still no identifiable Michele signatures (you would think that Givenchy and Kenzo had already rinsed military stars and big cats to death by now), but this collection feels like a step in the right direction for a brand overwhelmed by hype at present.
Reviewed by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) exclusively for katiechutzpah.com. Images courtesy of Vogue Runway.