Since taking the helm at Gucci at the beginning of 2015, Alessandro Michele has pretty much single-handedly transformed the face of fashion with his geek chic, vintage, flea market aesthetic, which has filtered down from high fashion to the high street. For his SS17 show, this afternoon in Milan, his army of bespectacled guys and girls were back with a vengeance in colourful print, pattern and embroidery, though this season they'd been updated with a glittering and glamorous twist. As soon as the audience entered the low-lit pink show space decorated with velvet banquettes, lametta tinsel and over 250,000 mirrored sequins that moved and reflected views of the collection, it was evident there might be a romantic, disco club vibe to the collection. The show was soundtracked by Florence Welch's recital of "Songs of Innocence and Experience" by William Blake, set to music by Steve Mackey as the first models emerged onto the hazy, smoky curved catwalk carpeted in Gucci's signature stripe and star pattern. The vast collection, Alessandro's 'Illusion of Love,' and ode to Hollywood glamour, consisted of bold suits in vibrant prints, voluminous flares, off-the-shoulder floral gowns, resplendent pleated, tiered dresses, tinsel, jacquard, embroidery, Quality Street metallics, plenty of ruffles and belts and bags emblazoned with the words 'cemetery' and 'future'. Michele's Gucci collections have been consistently colour-clashing and vibrant but the designer broadened his palette with shining, reflective hues, particularly for '80s shimmering party frocks.
Michele explained: “Colour is the soul of fashion, if you change the colour of a dress, you change the dress. Colour and dimension transform it into an illusion." And even glasses and shoes received a disco update with spectacles studded with glittering stones and the must-have Gucci loafers elevated with a killer platform. Illustrations featuring on shirts, cardigans and skirts were by Jayde Fish (who Alessandro Michele discovered on Instagram) as a small part of an extensive womenswear collection which told a story steeped in wonder, phantasmagoria and unorthodoxy.
Though casting might not have been as diverse as we might hope and some flamboyant looks were too OTT for even the most outlandish dresser, in isolation or toned down with simpler pieces, the collection will undoubtedly be worn and adorned by the ever-expanding group of fashion editors, street style stars and devoted Gucci converts who snap up anything Alessandro touches. In just three seasons Michele has transformed the floundering Italian fashion house, with the brand now on course to top €4 billion in revenue for the first time this year. It looks like Alessandro's star is still in ascent and this collection in all its excess, which kicked off Milan Fashion Week, will be another sure fire hit.