A man of metaphors and a platform to have them realised, that is the magic of Alessandro Michele's Gucci. Few could render a world as deliberate in its specificity, yet sprawling and unadulterated as Michele, and for Fall 2022, the Gucci creative director did just that. Step into Exquisite Gucci, a whirlwind of 80s tailoring, smoke and mirrors and of course, Adidas.
It's been two years since Gucci has graced the runways in Milan and to mark the occasion this season, true to form, Gucci delivered a sensory overload. From it's much anticipated cross-pollination with Adidas, a cavernous new theme to pivot off, and the front row presence of a radiant, pregnant Rihanna dressed in a custom Gucci lace-and-latex crop, dragon detailed pants, faux fur, a shimmering metal headpiece-cum-crown, with her baby bump in tow, it was an electrifying sight to behold.
Speaking on the energy and inspiration this season, Michele said: “I use the metaphor of the magical mirror to approach the phantasmagorical power of fashion. A sacred power that radiates from the surface of the fabrics."
"And there I work, on this tactile surface, through cross references, alterations, loopholes and grafts. Juxtaposing worlds and meanings. Altering the stability of perception. Manipulating and magnifying the existing. Through these interventions, I celebrate the clothes as real optical labs: magical machines that can give birth to fairy tales of metamorphosis and re-enchantment.”
The result is a parade of models, sent down upon this smoke-filled arena, appearing as if they were extras in a film we're all dying to audition in. It starts unsuspecting with a black genderless double-breasted suit and an exaggerated long point collar. The next look is far more Michele's speed. Lace lingerie tucked underneath a voluminous faux fur coat, with matching lace thigh high stockings and lurid blue knee-length boots with the Adidas three-stripe to punch through any conservative whim.
The focus is, of course, on suiting, a play on 80s silhouettes with an ever-so-slight reference to remnants of the 70s with flared trousers and wide lapels. Jewel tones run amok and there's brocade and fur trims. Just as was done with Gucci X The North Face sport codes are integrated throughout with flat caps, riding boots, track suits and wrestling singlets. Waists are pronounced with fat belts. A leather suit loaded with silver studs punctuates the bohemian colours and urban athleisure with a hint of fetish.
At one point a metallic blue boiler suit with jutting shoulders appears, it's a spectacle and a literal embodiment of fashion as a mirror with the looks shiny, reflective surface. Skinny ties, headwear ranging from staunch berets to water-polo-caps-meet-woollen-bonnets all with the Adidas white three stripe, and boxing boots flood the scene.
“The clothes, in fact, are capable of reflecting our image in an expanded and transfigured dimension... Wearing them, means to cross a transformative threshold where we become something else", as Michele says.
To the untrained eye, the collection is a lot. But for Alessandro Michele, a master of blending codes, executing collaborations and bringing his roving psychedelic visions to fruition, this is just another day at the office.
Watch the Gucci Fall 2022 show, below.