• Text Lewis Firth
  • 23rd June 2015

And that's how it's done

Détournement is a craft of subversion, a manipulation of artefacts from contemporary culture and a conscious effort to repurpose it into something fresh. Like, a semiotic saboteur. Alessandro Michele’s collection yesterday was named Détournement, but what he created was far from sabotage. Following these new set of ideals and recontextualising an Italian icon, he’s reconciled the brand’s heritage with a slick pasting of phat tropes and cuts.

The Piazza Oberdan, the old venue for the show, had been forgotten. That time is over. Farini Railway Station was yesterday’s stage. Its industrial décor and the use of red-lacquered chairs signalled a step-left edge for the brand, as did the ridding of the regular, Gucci-catwalk spotlight (neon tubing took its place). All evidence that a muscular movement towards a reinvigorated vocabulary was the case.

We waited with baited breath for Michele’s season, and as the clouds rolled over we were treated to the dense, buzzing air that precedes an electric storm before it actually happens – potentiality in motion.

The vocabulary was refined and rooted in something more decorative and perverse – yet, elegantly wholesome. The first look was a long coat in the established Gucci-motif, but paired with a baby-blue, silk scarf that went on for days: undone, and damn exhilarating. Flowers adorned flared, tailored trousers and suit jackets. (A brilliantly old-timer stance on motif-embellishment, placed with modern silhouetting: sublime.) Some shirts were buttoned-up, others tied around the waist, while a flesh-toned lace shirt – embroidered with floral, symmetrical motifs in a brazen burnt-orange – was one that echoed Gucci’s recognisable aesthetic. It felt simultaneously unfamiliar and reinvigorating. Then you had white, knitted looks: one jumper with an anchor; another, a butterfly; both acted as symbols that had an oxymoronic contemporary-traditional bite.

Détournement is particularly associated with appropriation. And here it was in all its Punk-backlash glory. Michele’s Gucci is not afraid to subvert the time that came before it – youth and DIY energy dominated, igniting wardrobes with clothes that feel fucking good.

Looks were reinterpreting and one-upping the next in a full-speed display of total confidence from the new kid. A bolt of intelligence and raw, creative spark means new authority for an Italian powerhouse. Keep this up and you’re gonna prove popular, Alessandro.

Please: keep it up.