This may be the first official day of Autumn, but in Milan everyone is thinking spring. The colors are the brightest we’ve seen so far this season and there is a lot of emphasis toward sustainable fabrics and earth-friendly methods. Whether that will last through the week remains to be seen, but it certainly is a good start and Gucci, the first major show, played right along with a set that was surrounded by natural greenery and a runway carpet that was reminiscent of mythical Eden, with red snakes over leaves and flowers.
Inspiring creative director Alessandro Michelle this season is “Carte De Tendre”, the map appearing on Madeleine de Scudéry’s novel Clélie, illustrating the path toward love. I’ve neither read the book nor have any knowledge of its map, so let’s just assume that said map is quite eventful, colorful, and full of all manner of challenges. This collection leans heavily on inferences back to the early 70s as far as silhouettes are concerned, but this is by no means a retro look. Everything here is new and fresh and almost certainly different from anything we’ve seen on a Gucci runway. The styles are too many to recount individual, though, so let’s take a look at some of the high/low points.
Let’s start with zippers down the front of dresses. Bet you haven’t seen that for a hot minute. There it was on the opening pieces, though, bright as anything, with a loop pull ring resting right at the base of the sternum. There aren’t a lot of dresses with that feature, but when they do occur there’s no missing them. Dress gloves also make a return appearance in the Gucci line this season. Note that this is not the long opera gloves of a couple of years ago, but the much shorter gloves that stop at the wrist. This is a departure from the 70s inference and, again, doesn’t appear with every look, but is certainly a standout feature.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the trompe l’oeil sequined collars and bows that make several appearances through this collection, as do beréts, long and wide embroidered men’s ties, oversized bows with trailing ribbons (something we saw often in London), and knife pleats. While these are all elements we generally associate with the 70s, Michelle has given them an electric update with bright colors and light fabrics and often some wonderful embroidery or applique.
The curious choices in this collection come primarily in the few men’s pieces he chose to include. They are all quite feminine in their detailing, and one could reasonably make the argument that they look more like wallpaper than something from which one might construct a suit. Granted, they are going to draw attention, but probably not of a nature one would enjoy. There also seemed to be some issues with the platform shoes that some models were wearing. Perhaps it was some unsteadiness caused by the carpets, but models were having to take much smaller and very careful steps when wearing these particular shoes.
Where Alessandro isn’t putting gloves on hands, he’s putting large rings on almost every finger. Handbags were, of course, very prominent and matches the ensembles with which they were paired but weren’t so wildly different from other seasons as to garner much notice. Eyewear was a huge deal, though, with a return to the large square frames that, in my mind, are reminiscent of a 1972 Elton John look.
All in all, this is a very vibrant and springy feeling collection that is going to really stand out from most anything else one might have on the closet. These are not pieces for wallflowers, to be sure. This is an exciting start to the week in Milan. Let’s hope it continues.
Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos