As brands race to outdo each other with extravagantly staged presentations, guests are pushed closer to desensitization. However, for Spring/Summer 2017, Gucci hosted a truly overwhelming sensory experience, and still managed to keep its high-octane collection from getting lost in translation. From the elaborate invite (which was a small replica of a theater, decorated with animals and flowers), to the set which featured over 250,000 mirrored sequins, to a soundtrack of Florence Welch reciting William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience” over a Steve Mackey-designed orchestral arrangement, the show smashed through any notion that Gucci’s girls are shrinking violets.
There is no doubt that Gucci is the “It” brand of the moment, driven by Michele’s sublime and decadent take on dandified Edwardian-era styles, roughed up for a new generation of cool kids who like ugly glasses, tattoos, and graffiti in tandem with their thousand-dollar furs.
According to show notes, designer Alessandro Michele’s intent this season was to “tell a story steeped in wonder, phantasmagoria, and unorthodoxy” and he did so with a bombastic display of looks plucked from a multitude of eras and sub-cultures. In combinations both wonderful and weird, Michele celebrated ravers, the Orient, Victorian and Edwardian style, sports, disco, streetwear, and more. With a set steeped in pink – the color of love – disco fervor seized hold in the form of platform shoes, spangled leggings, crystal sunglasses, and pleated Lurex suits. But wait, there’s more.
Sensory overload ensued, but the surreal effect has real-world correlation in sales, and with another self-assured collection created in Michele’s image, the brand moves boldly forward.
In addition to the glam-girl display, Michele also specialized in Asiatic brocade gowns, glittering peacock purple trenches, Victorian dresses with track suit trim, puff sleeve frock in a watery treatment, and fur coats that featured dual zebra heads or jellyfish with tendrils constructed from ruffled, multi-colored tulle. There were also jaw-dropping looks constructed from tiers of fan-pleated ruffles, corsets and shoulder armor, slim-cut suits in a tapestry print with over-the-shoulder lapels, fussy high-necked dresses embroidered with dragons, and vampy sheer tulle gowns with tiered layers inset with spiked glitter accents. Extraordinary accessories like wolf’s head belts, rings, hand cuffs, crystal sparrow earrings, bizarre translucent veils, and salmon pink turbans were stacked onto every look. As if that weren’t enough, slogans also made an appearance as “Loved” was inscribed on cropped trousers, “Modern Future” was stamped on winged accents, and “Cemetery” ran across the mid-section of an extravagant gown. Sensory overload ensued, but the surreal effect has real-world correlation in sales, and with another self-assured collection created in Michele’s image, the brand moves boldly forward.