Seven Things You Should Know About This Season’s GUCCI

GUCCI graced the opening of Milan Fashion Week, Fall/Winter 2017, as one of the brands at the center of worldwide attention. Alessandro Michele, who was appointed the brand’s creative director two years ago, presented genuinely original, decorative & multi-mix styles, which have become a new trend.

This time, it was the brand’s first show to present men’s and women’s collections merged into one grand collection with a vast number of 119 looks. The guests were immersed in the breathtaking fantasy of Michele’s GUCCI.
1. Record sleeve initiation (of course, with a vinyl record inside)

When I arrived at my hotel in Milano, I was handed over a bunch of envelopes at the reception and discovered a huge brown envelope among them. That was an invitation from GUCCI. It had a design of ouroboros, an ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail, with GUCCI logo. Inside the envelope, I found a record sleeve with a message of “What are we going to do with all this future?" and a snap of three vases with flowers and an iPhone charger in western paining style inside the sleeve.
2. GUCCI Hub, the new headquarters transformed from an aircraft hangar

The show took place at GUCCI Hub, the brand’s new headquarters where the brand just moved last autumn. It is located five kilometers east of Milan, and close to Milan Linate Airport (and a bit far from downtown). The compound spans approx. 38,000 square meters. I was overwhelmed by the vastness which is extraordinary compared to other brands in Milan. The site had been used as an aircraft hangar in the past.

Needless to say, the building is beautifully renovated with plenty of GUCCI delights. A show room, for instance, is decorated in red, from walls to carpet, and displays a full line of samples.
3. Plexiglass tunneled runway

Being guided, I ventured into the dimly lit venue illuminated with pinkish purple lights. In front of my seat, I could see a thick drop curtain hanging from the high ceiling, and I waited for the show to start, expecting to see the guests seated only on one side of the runway, just like at the last show.

However, when the show started with dramatic music and 30 minutes behind the schedule, I was surprised to see guests also on the other side. The runway looked like a narrow tube corridor and the seats were set surrounding the tube.
4. The collection theme "The Alchemist's Garden"

Alchemy is a traditional technique popularly practiced throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It aimed to purify, mature and transform the base metals such as lead and copper into the "noble" ones, particularly gold. Michele interpreted such technique as something magical, which cannot be explained by the modern science, and created “The Alchemist's Garden”, a fantasy garden that overwhelms the logic. In addition to flowers in full bloom, he applied various motifs of insects and animals such as bees, butterflies, cat and tiger, as well as imaginary animals and plants.

The idea behind the runway designed in the form of a tube is that Michele had an image of models wandering a chaotic mysterious garden. At the center of the venue, there was a purple pyramid with a weathercock on the peak, and the tube corridor was running around the pyramid.
5. “Be the voice of self-expression” by Michele

More than half of women’s looks featured a long skirt, conveying the taste of retro elegance with a bow tie and white collar. That said, the looks were very much decorative, almost avant-garde overall. The embroideries and sequins were flamboyant with intricate designs that nearly looked overdone. Vivid patterns on luxurious, colorful fabrics were coordinated with a distinctive belt or bag, which were more than just an accessory, and arranged with striking stockings and shoes. While the items themselves were so impactful, Michele’s styling was also so elaborate. Watching the collections that looked like almost layering all your favorite clothes and accessories, I felt like I had wandered into a dress-up contest or party hosted by a fashionista. The show successfully represented Michele’s recent favorite phrase, “Be the voice of self-expression”.
6. Look for the 80s fashion

While some designers try to surprise the public by creating a totally different image every season, Michele makes a smooth shift between seasons, presenting the collections as if his works were never-ending picture scrolls. With a perfect combination of beautiful colors and patterns, GUCCI spectacle retains its extravagant yet slightly peculiar view of the world and welcomes new seasonal motifs. This season, the brand introduced the elements of the 80s fashion, namely power shoulder jacket, aerobics style, and metal rock fashion. Hairstyles followed suit, creating eighties styles with a hint of retro.
7. Accessories look vintage, as if found in a flea market

Accessories were also very compelling. Michele himself always wears rings on almost all fingers (and sometimes two rings or more on one finger). He applied the same style to the show models too. This collection played with various accessories including an insect motif ring of antique glow, and unique rings of ogre and white fox motifs possibly inspired by Japanese Noh masks.

Furthermore, the accessories also included classic round-shaped glasses, like the ones Emperor Showa used to wear, a monkey head walking stick, etc. As I was walking around the room showcasing the collection items, it somehow made me feel as if I had strayed into a vintage shop.

For more photos, please visit Hanatsubaki Site (Japanese only).

All photos by Antoni Ruiz Aragó