• Text Alex James Taylor
  • 21st September 2017

Lap of the gods

This season, Alessandro Michele transformed the Gucci headquarters into an ancient map. Indian, Aztec and Egyptian style arches stretched over the catwalk, classical statues from different periods and cultures stood between seats and the catwalk was cast in deep blue, representing Italy’s Tiber river – legend says Rome’s founders, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, were abandoned in a basket on its waters.

However, if you thought these mythical epochs were a direct hint towards what sort of collection we were about to see, you’d be widely mistaken. That’s far too linear for Michele’s Gucci. No, here was the designer giving his world its own mythical narrative worthy of the greats.

Michele’s mythical fantasia is rooted in cultural markers. Cue a rich and extravagant taster menu for the eyes consisting of more than 100 looks, each whimsical model returning to the catwalk from exotic expeditions, the fruits of their travel worn in hodgepodge style like trophies of the places – and eras – they’d visited. Breezy 70s flare appeared in wide-leg trousers, head-to-toe prints, and mega aviator glasses, 80s pizzazz with Dynasty-esque shoulder pads, roller disco tops and sequinned tights and 90s retro via video game-style logos, Puka-shell necklaces (only rendered more deadly by saber-tooth versions) and ultra-branded pieces, all given a futuristic twist in the form of boxy, 3D-style sunglasses.

Bugs Bunny and Snow White appeared across playful knits, while Elton John references were scattered throughout; from a tote bag featuring the album artwork for his 1971 Levon, to tracksuit jackets, velvet blazers, yellow-tinted glasses and one particular look that reimagined the musician’s iconic musical note jumpsuit. There were crystal beards that wrapped around models heads (yes, you heard that correctly), a satin Evel Knievel jumpsuit, and “Never Marry a Mitford” motifs – in reference to the notorious sister clan, one of which devoted her life to running the Chatsworth estate, the setting for Michele’s Gucci Places exhibition.

“It’s the celebration of the freedom to decide about one’s own body and life. An invitation to be yourself: the only true transgression that ensures us to get closer to happiness,” read the show notes with the feel of a cult mantra – if Gucci is the way to salvation, I’m a believer!