With a location as grand as Rome’s Musei Capitolini (conceived by Michelangelo in 1536, it is considered the world’s first museum), appropriately manned by staff armed with flaming chandeliers on darkened stairwells, the scene was the impressive spectacle we’ve come to expect from the Resort show circuit. But with Gucci – despite the bells and whistles and celebrity front row – it feels different. There’s an effortless in the air, a crowd as diverse as the models on the runway and an ease to everything. No one is judging – not yet, anyway.
Building drama is one thing Alessandro Michele is a dab hand at and he managed it this time around with a thumping orchestral score and near-dark runway, illuminated only by souvenir flashlights placed on guests’ seats.
All the Gucci traits were there: quirky thrift shop styling, 70s bohemia, historical nods, and pop-culture referencing. It’s not just about the fashion for Michele, it never is. All of his 97 looks were an extension of the ‘character’ that wore them; each one as wonderfully unique as the next and many sporting slogans, dates or embroideries in support of freedom of choice, in whatever form that may be.
“It was important to organize this show in Rome,” Michele said, “to pay tribute, to glorify this place of freedom.” And there were indeed plenty of references to Italy’s ancient capital, from the draping of a toga over a plaid suit to a bright red cape embroidered with gold leaves. But although Michele had one foot in the past, the other was clearly in the present with Mickey Mouse iconography on sweaters or silk tank tops and strong-shouldered looks that remain on-trend today.
As one of the early luxury brands to stop using real fur, it was pleasing to see such strong faux options in the form of shaggy jackets or brightly colored trims on cardigans or tunic dresses. And those signature maxi gowns (all Florence Welch bohemia) in loose featherlight chiffon with jewel-encrusted detailing, were a joy in so many variations – certain to be a hit for the modest dresser.
That’s the thing about Gucci: for every lingerie look there’s an artfully layered ensemble; a clunky millennial sneaker might follow a Studio 54 platform; feminine looks give way to masculine. Worn together or pulled apart, there’s simply a piece for everyone.