Gucci fall/winter 2020: Alessandro Michele spotlights the rituals behind the circus that is fashion week
The prelude: Days before Wednesday, invited guests received a voice message from— surprise, surprise— Creative Designer Alessandro Michele himself, asking us to attend his fall/winter 2020 show at the Gucci hub in Milan if we "are not too busy", before ending his recording with a kiss. With mere hours to go, Michele sent along a picture of his heavily accessorised left arm in a car, presumably during his ride to Via Mecenate.
The scene: Last season (that's spring/summer 2020), Gucci show-goers walked into a clinical room lined with cold, plastic seats bathed in alarming red light. For fall/winter 2020, Michele shatters the wall between spectator (as he calls us) and subject, by opening the "backstage area" (the operative word here being ‘stage') for public viewing. Models were clad in white robes, hair and makeup still in progress. The fact that Michele named this season as "The Ritual" is making some sense now. After all, what is more ritualistic than beautiful people getting made up for flashing lights? 'Tis a tale as old as time.
First impression: How do you know you're at a fashion show? There's usually models, a runway, some clothes, and anticipation lingering in the air. Gucci bottled the whole process in a tent... then shook the formula up, creating a circus. Instead of watching models march down to a boisterous beat, we witnessed another fashion week ritual usually hidden from public view — models getting dressed, in this instance, behind a thin veil. How very "us and them".
And they're not alone. The team from the Gucci atelier in grey and white uniforms can be seen doing what they do best: make the clothes look hella good, of course. It's nice to see a creative director/designer sharing the stage with the unsung heroes of high fashion for a change. There's something poetic, even political, about the performance, intentional or not. If there were doubts before, there aren't now — we have another intellectual designer on our hands.
Favourite looks: At just 60 looks, this has got to be the tightest edit of a Gucci collection in years. Good thing, too, otherwise the gems from fall/winter 2020 run the risk of losing themselves in the performative aspect of the runway show. Gems such as those in look 9 (the Peter Pan dress cinched with leather harness); look 26 (that cropped farmer's shirt and flamenco skirt); and look 38 (those pleats gracing the tunic, sheer dress pairing). Dare we say we even approve of the Little Women-esque turns in look 15 and 29 — that is if the women were even bolder, more original, and more risqué, than they already are.
Favourite accessories: It's hardly a Gucci collection without strong bags, yes? Those creamy pastel top handles are to-die-for. Michele's hats and gloves won't be ignored, though what caught us off guard were the PVC bangles shaped in stars (how retro), and the woollen tights (cheeky!). As is, we're not shaving our legs in the winter; it would appear that we'll also have extra fuzz to keep our gams toasty. No complaints.
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