Global fashion is currently immersed in “Michele-ism”, as in Alessandro Michele the creative genius behind Gucci’s unconventional style code which we’d define as a superlative mix of kitsch, excess and royal punk. The days of Gucci by Tom Ford with its overt-sexiness seem like a distant memory to the newly minted contemporary aesthetic that is Gucci’s very Instagrammable collections.
Today, we break down the basis of Gucci’s new style codes to try and wrap our heads around its world-wide appeal.
The Gucci Code
We are not saying Gucci is for everyone but Gucci does have a tangible allure. It’s bright, it’s fun; it’s like a happy dance for both the eyes and the mind, and it is especially ideal for fashion maximalists.
Gucci targets the boldest among us with the smart mix of iconic house details, such as Gucci glass pearls and multi-color crystals, and newly established symbols, such as the animal motifs, covering every facet and every inch of Gucci shoes and apparel.
The Gucci Vision
Michele is a student of the portrait genre. He layers historical reference on historical reference creating collections that carefully relate a dressing-up aesthetic. It is a very pop way to show your personality, similar to the sartorial tastes that prevail in youthful cities like London.
The sense of color, the mixing of fabrics, silhouettes, and multiple layers Michele offers in his menswear mingle male and female codes of dressing that actually speak to preceding ways of dress for men by designers from the past. Michele doesn’t take credit, “I didn’t invent this”, he says in an interview with The New Yorker, “Armani and Yves Saint Laurent did. So when I read that journalists were giving me credit for it, I laughed because these people certainly do not know much about fashion history!”
Michele’s new code for the Gucci woman is more personal. While he acknowledges that sex will always be important to the Gucci woman, Michele’s woman is spiritually unchained. She might like fancy things, but she has an anarchic soul. “She’s an intellectual who has taste,” he says in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “A woman whom you’ll never know if she has a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a woman with great freedom of expression.”
I really don’t consider Kim Kardashian sexy,” he says by way of example. “She’s like one of those primordial sculptures of fertility, like the Venus of Willendorf.” Referring not to Kardashian but to women in general, he adds, “Some women are forced by men to look a certain way, to be accepted by the general public, and I find that terrible.”
For the Gucci woman Michele has a preference for long sleeves, high necklines, and below-the-knee skirts. Far from demure, the designs feature fabrics that reference to inclusive romanticism, stark edginess and wanton abandon. Gucci’s new Flora Snake prints, inspired from the archives of the 96-year-old house, are tinged with serpents from the Gucci Garden winding their way around bouquets of flowers. The new print features intensely when set against against colorful or contrasting backgrounds.
The rainbow-colored, crystal-studded lineup of contemporary jewelry- palm cuffs, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, are more closely related to the style of the creative director himself as Michele is often seen wearing stacks of jewelry on his fingers.
Gucci handbags have transitioned from the flat, house canvas featuring the signature Gucci motif to more lux components of precious skins embroidered, quilted and ruched into 3-dimensional design shapes. Don’t worry, the emblematic “GG” insignia is always present.
Noticeably, the new Gucci code reflects a broad study of costume and, in particular, of the ways adornment and embellishment have been used over centuries. Yet in the twelve collections that he has presented so far he has not isolated a single silhouette and made it his signature, nor has he mined a single historical period.
“Fashion is a religion in one sense,” Michele concluded in an interview with Business of Fashion. “Once upon a time our brand was considered the sanctum sanctorum of fashion, “he finishes, “but I want to produce things that people really want to buy.”