Anglomania: Gucci's Eccentric Lady Takes On A Whole New Meaning At Westminster

Strongest statement yet


On this day 63 years ago, 8,000 guests congregated at Westminster Abbey to watch Queen Elizabeth II receive the four icons of authority (the orb, the rod of mercy, the scepter, and the royal ring) in her coronation ceremony. Today, a different kind of gathering happened at the historic monument as guests took their hand-embroidered cushioned seats inside the Gothic church's 13th century cloisters for Gucci's cruise 2017 show.


And while the queen's aesthetic could be seen in the silk scarves primly tied around the models' heads and embroidered floral bags dangling from the crooks of their arms, that's about as far as the link between the two happenings goes. Because the collection was pure Gucci maximalism — all go-to-hell colour and print layering, with a blaze of sequins, fur and pearls, a slew of crazy cat lady references and a lot of punk and Victoriana mixed in.


It's been a week of storied fashion houses showing boldly youthful cruise collections inside incredibly old, revered institutions. By now, you've probably seen the impressive railroad extravaganza Dior staged for its cruise outing at Blenheim Palace. It's worth noting that I'm writing this, not from the Gucci catwalk, but from my desk as I watch the show unfold in real time on my Instagram feed.  The experience - processing this juxtaposition of the Hot Right Now with the grandiosity of history - through a screen, has made for an interesting statement on where we are in fashion. It's a place in which all the rules have been made irrelevant and rich 'glam-mas' and young punks can co-exist in a hallowed cathedral. 'I love the English aesthetic; in a way I feel it is close to my own, a beautiful chaos, it is a powerful mix of the past and the present,' creative director Alessandro Michele said in a statement posted after the show.

That mix of past and present in cruise '17 meant Seventies colourblock platforms with a gender-bending floral suit, for example, or grandmotherly bags emblazoned with the ultimate icon of the Internet age, the cat. The juxtaposition has become currency for Michele who has singlehandedly revived the brand's top seller status. But his trademark mix of eccentric references seemed to gel in a new way today and it made for his strongest work yet.  Perhaps its because he's now had three seasons to refine it, subtly fine tuning his unmistakable trademark from show to show rather than introducing a radically different new look with each catwalk. Or maybe it's just that eccentricity always rings most authentic in England.

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