Rag and Bone Blazer with Chanel Boots

Rag and Bone Blazer with Chanel Boots

Call Alessandro Michele a mad scientist enough times in reviews and he’ll turn up in scrubs. Okay, it was an oversized hospital-blue shirt, but in the surroundings of the eerie operating theatre that framed today’s Gucci show, you couldn’t really tell the difference. “We are all Doctor Frankenstein of our lives,” he said after the clinical experience, explaining the plastic surgeon’s tables, severed clone heads, rubber snakes and dragons, third eyes and horns that got everyone’s millennial freak on at Gucci. Stemming from ancient Hinduism, third eyes are currently all the rage with the woke Game of Thrones generation, who’ll photoshop them onto their foreheads on Instagram and turn themselves into supernatural creatures. Michele’s collection, which largely stuck to the multifaceted aesthetic he’s created for Gucci, was based on the idea of superhuman transformation (mainly through clothes, we must presume, and not plastic surgery.)

“Nature has not given us an untouchable body,” Michele argued, talking about the relationship between “what we are and what we want to become.” He alluded to that notion in typical Gucci outfits covered in nude transparent tulle chrysalises that looked as if they were about to be shed, and in various reptilian and alien motifs. But to be honest, at this stage in his wildly successful reign at Gucci there’s no need to force parallels between Michele’s theatrics and the clothes he fills them with. He is, by now, a master retailer: the wizard of retail, who simply wafts in, whooshes his cape and sprinkles magic potions all over the place. Those potions are his observations, like this one, which entirely backed up that notion: “I thought it’s a beautiful idea,” he said of all the transformation, “because fashion is not simply what you wear or an instrument to generate business. It’s something more. You are thinking I’m being obvious but this is my approach.”

In other words, if the Gucci empire he has built is sometimes accused of not changing - or moving on from Michele’s founding ideas - it’s because his success lies in simply expanding on that aesthetic, and using his shows as a platform for philosophical matters relating to these dynamic times in which we find ourselves. “Fashion is very much aware of what’s happening and that wasn’t always the case in the past,” he said. “A jacket doesn’t represent my way of being and living. I’m interested in what’s inside that jacket.” Michele himself has undergone something of a transformation. When he first took over at Gucci some three years ago with his tousled long hair and big beard, he appeared like a modest Jesus figure. These days he’s more like Jesus Christ Superstar. “I’m happy I was born as a hybrid,” he reflected. “I want to praise hybridisation. We have got to cultivate this and take care of it.”

By Anders Christian Madsen

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