Gucci Gets “Woke” for Fall/Winter 2017

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While Fall/Winter 2017 offered another prismatic angle on the same aesthetic, it also represented tremendous progress for Gucci.

It’s been two years since Alessandro Michele debuted his first collection for Gucci, and no one has tired of how he parodies styles from the past, hodge-podges influence from multiple Wes Anderson movies, or clutters up his eclectic looks with accessories the way a magpie collects glittering objects to decorate its nest. In fact, Gucci is now so popular that Michele was named International Business Leader at the British Fashion Council’s The Fashion Awards, bearing responsibility for the company’s stunning sales growth: a reported 17 percent rise in quarterly sales to just over €1 billion, surpassing market expectations by 7 percent, according to Business of Fashion.

Evidenced by his personal Instagram account, Michele has an antique collector’s instincts, which bleeds onto his chaotic, kaleidoscopic runways in unexpected and exhilarating ways. While Fall/Winter 2017 offered another prismatic angle on the same aesthetic, it also represented tremendous progress for the brand. For the first time, the presentation included an equal mix of menswear and womenswear – or really a kind of “who cares about gender”-wear that made every look interchangeable and sexless. It also included a diverse array of models – a departure from its generally whitewashed casting. In fact, the new Gucci campaign features nine black models, which means this sleeping brand has finally “woke”.

Gucci Fall Winter 2017 Imaxtree
Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

The theme of Fall/Winter 2017 was “The Alchemist’s Garden”, described by the brand as, “A garden inhabited by signs, symbols and archetypes invoking and recalling remote worlds.” Indeed, influences ranged from dozens of destinations and eras; peruse the collection and you’ll find 80s shoulder pads, Richie from The Royal Tenenbaums, ancient Mongolia, Wayne’s World, 70s gutter punks, and more. Although the invitation beckoned the audience to ask, “What are we going to do with all this future?”, the brand simultaneously boasted an “anti-modern laboratory” backdrop crafted from a huge pyramid with plexiglass tunnels, topped with a rooster-shaped weathervane. Michele’s answer to “all this future” was to filter his collection through the past – that’s where the anti-modernism comes from, but the dizzying blend ultimately refused to reflect a particular time period. Anti-modern doesn’t equal anti-future, Michele seems to argue.

Gucci’s garden might have some strange blooms, but they are certainly irresistible to the fashion crowd.

And finally, the clothes. The clothes are what we are presumably here to see, after all. They were incredible, wacky, off-kilter – everything you want from Gucci, and more. In collaboration with Coco Capitan, some looks bore quirky phrases like, “Common sense is not that common” and “I want to go back to believing a story,” and they’ll be coming to an Insta-star near you in three… two… one. There were tapestry coats, peasant frocks with ethnic embroidery, gold harem pants, Lurex bodysuits, floral-strewn capes, ruffled party dresses, and to-die-for accessories that ranged from amazing animal and insect rings, logo-embossed fanny packs, lady-like parasols sprayed with graffiti, and crystal bow-ties to asymmetrical sequined sunnies. Gucci’s garden might have some strange blooms, but they are certainly irresistible to the fashion crowd.

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