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Milan

Gucci

Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

Milan

BY Katharine K. Zarrella

February 22, 2017

• Gucci, Gucci, how does your garden grow?

• Through alchemy, obviously. 

• Dubbed “The Alchemist’s Garden,” Alessandro Michele’s Fall 2017 men’s and women’s outing for Gucci was, well, a lot. Just like it usually is. However, this season, it was more of a lot, if that’s possible. But, like the alchemist he is, Michele pulled together countless completely unrelated parts to make a totally intoxicating whole. 

• What were those parts? Listing them all here would result in a Homeric epic, but pretty much every era, subculture, region, aesthetic, and beyond had at least one moment in the sun. Concert tees? Check. Shimmering lamé wrestling suits? Check. Seventies rocker duds? Check. Eighties athletic wear? Check. Chinoiserie? Check. Vintage English school boy garb? Check. A super sleek ‘40s-style little black dress? Check. Grunge cut-offs? Check. The list goes on, and on, and on. There were 119 looks, after all. 

• But something about this season’s mishmash of cultures, prints, and rich fabrications felt more deliberate. It’s as though Michele’s previous quirky outings were just testing the water for this intense sartorial symphony—and their success proved the Gucci clientele was ready for this next wave of sensory overload. 

• From the sweeping jacquard robes, to the endless flora and fauna motifs, to the giant bedazzled fanny packs, to the gargantuan sunhat that engulfed one model’s head, Michele fully committed to his signature over-the-top-ness, relinquishing any restraints and submerging himself in this wonderland of excess. More is more, and even more is more than that. 

• Michele’s offbeat granny characters have now transformed into creatures from another world—each with its own identity. No two hairstyles on today’s runway were exactly the same. No two models were interchangeable. Even the handful of catwalkers who were covered top-to-toe in a crystal bodystockings oozed with individuality. This is the essence of Michele’s universe—living your dream and your truth. 

• And gender? Forget about it—but really forget about it. In Michele’s not-so-secret garden, sex is irrelevant. All that matters is living your own fantasy. 

• I could go into detail talking about silhouettes, textiles, and trimmings, but let’s be serious—these pieces adhere to the aesthetic Michele has been pushing since his debut at the house, they just kick it up to the next level. Otherwise, it’s precisely the beautifully made stuff that Gucci fans are snatching off the shelves the second they’re stocked. Don’t believe me? Kering’s shares hit a 15-year high back in October, thanks to a 17 percent boost in Gucci sales. Clearly, what Michele is doing is working. 

• Why is it working? Perhaps Michele’s collections inspire people to dream. Or maybe, with their many references and inspirations, they feel familiar and comforting. Or it could be that, with all this streetwear floating around, luxury consumers want something that feels opulent, special, and, well, luxurious. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter, because, like a true alchemist, Michele manages to turn all of his concoctions into gold. 

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