When it was revealed that Gucci would be closing down L.A.’s Hollywood Boulevard for its Spring 2022 show — the brand’s first in-person show in almost two years — it was safe to assume that the collection would be a love letter to Hollywood. After all, the film industry — to say nothing of the many celebrities who have worn the heritage house’s designs on the red carpet over the years — has played a big hand in making Gucci as recognisable a name as some of those engraved on the Boulevard’s Walk of Fame. Then too, Ridley Scott’s Lady Gaga-starring House of Gucci is the film that everyone’s already talking about, even though it isn’t coming out until later this month. But as it turns out, while the show, titled “Gucci Love Parade,” was indeed a cinematic homage, creative director Alessandro Michele's inspiration came from a much more personal place.
“Mum worked in the film industry as an assistant in a production company. I remember all the stories she told me, and the details and the sparkles, about that dream factory,” the show notes from Michele explained. “There was the alabaster paleness of Marilyn Monroe and her diaphanous voice. There were the black satin gloves of Rita Hayworth and Veronica Lake’s velvet hair, as well as the bewitching allure of Rock Hudson and Kim Novak.”
To bring that magic to life, Gucci cast big names — and frequent brand collaborators — to model the looks: Jared Leto, Jodie Turner-Smith, St.Vincent, Jeremy Pope, and more. Macaulay Culkin appeared in a Hawaiian shirt look that looked part-White Lotus, part-Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Phoebe Bridgers walked in a Jackie Kennedy-esque satin coat and pillbox hat, and Miranda July modelled pin-up stockings with Gucci-emblazoned bloomers and a fur-trimmed, strawberry-print cardigan.
The collection read like a retrospective of Hollywood’s fashion over the last century. There were (faux) furs, screen siren-like evening gowns, and opera-length gloves of the Golden Age years; the razor-sharp tailoring and bold colours of the ‘70s; and the red carpet minimalism of the ‘90s. (The latter was confirmed by attendee Gwyneth Paltrow, who appeared in a reimagined version of the iconic Tom Ford-designed red Gucci suit she wore at the 1996 VMAs.)
While Gucci has long built its name on exquisite occasion dresses and red carpet attire, where Michele really shines as a designer is in the off-kilter, irreverent details that the brand has become known for since he took the job in 2015. Think: the heart clutch in the shape of the actual organ shown during spring's Aria show, or his partnership with North Face that made a 2021 It Jacket out of the decidedly ordinary puffer everyone had in the ‘00s.
This season, the flashes of Gucci genius were most apparent in the styling. Sneakers were paired with tuxedo shirts and three-piece suits, bike shorts were shown alongside cowboy hats, and Latex gloves peeked out from underneath bulbous maribou dresses. And while, at first glance, these combinations may appear outlandish, or even unruly, on everyday people, they also wouldn’t look out of place on members of Young Hollywood — Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Lizzo, etc. — who were also in attendance.
“L.A. is not a fashion city, but it’s so fashionable,” Michele told Vogue backstage before the show. “Sometimes they are not appropriate, but in being not appropriate they are so precise. Maybe it belongs to my way of looking at fashion — it’s personal.”
In an industry plagued by lightning-speed fashion calendars and the churning of trends, personal style may seem like a novel idea, but after the last 18 months — marked by athleisure, party dressing, and the obliteration of all dress codes — isn’t that how we should all think about style?