For Gucci, I wonder which came first, the show notes or the clothes. In my experience the PR team anxiously jots down show notes a day or two before the show, it’s purpose to give context and a jumping off place for the press. At Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, show notes are taken to a whole other level. Are they an over intellectualized con that Michele knows will be respectfully regurgitated by the press for fear of being accused of not getting it, or is he sincere?
This time around he referenced Foucault’s ideas on identity politics and Donna Haraway’s essay, “A Cyborg Manifesto.” The set was an operating room, severed heads in the likeness of the model carrying it; reptiles and a baby dragon were props. What does it all mean? Who knows and I’m not sure it matters. Michele is the consummate showman; he knows how to lead critics and consumers alike into his curated world of curiosities, gleefully purchasing tickets in the form of bags and shoes. Through all the eccentricities Michele offers just enough Gucci sustenance to keep his followers alive and hungry for more.
To me it looks like the Gucci team, armed with glue guns, raided church thrift shops the world over. But within the melee, moments of clarity, the oversized suede shoulder bag, the powder blue suede trainers and the silk floral blouses. These are guaranteed to sell. But the theatrics serve a timely purpose; Michele gives us permission to unabashedly let our freak flags fly, and it has changed the course of fashion. In this upside down, out of balance world we’re living in this is a powerful message. It’s an FU to the establishment that has failed us. Change, rebellion and uncertainty are in the air, it’s palpable. In a calmer more harmonious world Michele’s Gucci might just look odd, but right now it’s hitting a cord.