Dispatches From Milan: Gucci

A veritable pick'n'mix

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Psycho-geographic maps? Eclectic palimpsests rich with heterogeneous references? Come again? Alessandro Michele’s SS16 collection was inspired by Madeleine de Scudéry’s La Carte de Tendre, a map that depicted an imagined land of love, published in the 17th century. A speedy Google reveals that de Scudéry was an intellectual who wrote romantic novels about feminine elegance and exquisitely correct behaviour.

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We know Michele’s woman by now – she of the tilted beret, spectacles, quirky dress and loafers sprouting fur. We know all about her passion for plundering vintage and putting it together in an offbeat way. And we love her individualistic eye for detail, her bags and her shoes – hell, we’ve bought them! She may have only been around for six months, but it already feels like forever; Frida Giannini’s stiletto-booted vixen is but a distant memory.
 
This season, Michele’s heroine stepped out in an old railway yard in Milan. There was carpet on the floor patterned with the house’s signature serpent and screens dotted around covered in retro print. She was all lady. In keeping with his fascination with de Scudéry, the androgyny – girls in boys’ suits – that he had been playing with for his last winter and spring collections was barely there to check the balance of his sweet, lovelorn girl. The result was like a magnificently rich desert – a collection so full of detail, colour, print and shape, it was Michele’s mould-breaking individualism pushed to the max, every piece designed as ‘a small atlas of emotion’. The abstract map reference even showed up on a slim midi dress and satin box-pleat skirt.

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New to the plethora of Gucci looks that included Michele’s by-now signature ruffled blouse, calf-length skirt, satin bomber jacket, fragile dresses in chiffon or lace, granny coats and the trouser suit (this time in sunflower yellow, shiny emerald green or white, with a serpent snaking up one leg), was the introduction ofiridescence. Picture sequin trompe l’oeil effects as collars and buttons on sheer blouses, glittering knitwear and metallic floral prints. Add to that crochet, snakeskin, romantic floral embroideries, pussy bows, neck-ties…
 
Michele is building the Gucci brand convincingly. It’s like fashion’s new sweetshop. A veritable pick'n'mix. All based on a woman who flits as much with her clothing choices as she does with her accessories. Take the entire wardrobe of shoes, from wafer-flat slippers to studded loafers with the to heels kicked in, to towering double platform T-strap sandals in rainbow colours, to block heels decorated with leather leaves, snakes, even spikes. It’s the same story with the bags: the Dionysus now comes in snakeskin, croc and the traditional Gucci monogram, embroidered with rhinestone lips and lightening bolts! Plus, spot the house’s red and green stripes slicing through everything for a bit of branding par excellence. You want specs? Try the new glittery shades or the massive aviators.
 
We love his girl and what she represents. The question is, as fashion demands, how will she move on?

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