At Gucci, Alessandro Michele Turns Maximalism Up To Full Blast

'More, more because otherwise the music stops. And I don't want it to stop.'

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How exactly does a man like Alessandro Michele go about topping the big, bold, maximalist look he established for Gucci? That was the question on everyone's mind today as we took our plush, pink, velvet seats in a cavernous room filled with moody rose lighting, smoke and mirrors. It hasn't even been a full two years since Alessandro made his debut as creative director of the brand last February and yet his impact on the look of fashion has been huge. So where does an agenda-setter known for his larger than life approach to design go next? 

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To an even bigger and bolder place, to hear Michele tell it. He's been on a winning streak, with the brand's sales on a steady incline under his creative direction. From a business perspective, one can understand why he might want to pile on even more of a good thing. 'I tried to put more of this kind of aesthetic. It's pop but it's also very sedated in a way,' Michele explained backstage. 'It's kind of like a musician. You need more, more notes. More, more because otherwise the music stops. And I don't want it to stop.'

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Gucci Goes To Hollywood

Speaking of music, Michele's lush eclecticism, a regular on red carpets and Beyoncé's social media, is like catnip for celebrities. So it would make sense that he would eventually gravitate towards the ground zero of it all, Hollywood.  'I'd been there for a party,' Michele said. 'And it changed my mind about the place. It was one of the most glamorous places I've ever seen. So this [collection] was just an idea of Hollywood. Another side of Hollywood. It was also a place that was an illusion.'

It's a telling thought, because Michele looks like a man who has grown into his own celebrity. To be clear, he's a rock star. And the scrum of people practically trampling each other to get to him backstage is proof of that. But the clothes have a brighter star power as well. Take a moment to look at Michele's most recent collections and then compare them to the work he showed for his autumn/winter 2015 debut. 

There's a confident sense of bombast in his new work that cuts quite a contrast from the slightly nerdier, quirkier, Wes Andersonian feeling of his earliest collections. Likewise, it requires self-assurance of Queen Bey proportions to pull off head-to-toe gold sequins with an embroidered tiger with Elton John glasses or a pink lurex pant suit with layers of sci-fi ruffles. In short, the Gucci girl has become mega-famous with a wardrobe to match. 

Meet Jayde Fish

But what next? And how loud can Michele go? Walk through any Zara and it's clear Michele's maximalist aesthetic has hit its tipping point. And thanks to the relentless turnover on social media, our attention spans get shorter by the day. That hasn't diminished the appetite for Gucci's bling, though; just scroll through the hashtags for proof.

While you do, you might notice the work of a little-known artist Jayde Fish, whose drawings appear in the new collection. Michele discovered her on Instagram. 'I had been posting illustrations inspired by his pieces and hashtagging him as I posted them,' she said. 'And Alessandro came across them and in some magical way asked me if he could use them in his upcoming collection.'

It's tempting to refer to her as the new Gucci Ghost (last season Michele partnered with the artist aka Trouble Andrew after he happened upon the graffiti writer's work on Instagram). But Fish makes it clear her work tells a different story. You can see her drawings throughout the collection on looks such as this one.

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