I break my hiatus to write about the new Gucci creative director and collection, simply because it does have an impact on my future and the future of fashion.
Gucci as a brand as been special to me because I did my first fashion internship at Gucci in Singapore. I spent a lot of time in the sample room examining and learning about luxury fashion and it had a great impact on me. In my mind, I began to form the luxury brands worked and saw how it operated with many locations worldwide.
After watching the new Fall 2015 womenswear show, I was filled with doubt and uncertainty. The new creative director, Alessandro Michele, to me has taken the path that Hedi Slimane did with Saint Laurent. Not only did he youthify the brand, as tasked since sales at Gucci were falling, but he designed a collection for a very young and skinny crowd. Holding on to Gucci’s 60s and 70s roots, Michele designed a soft and feminine collection full of frilly and billowy silhouettes tailored to the waist. Huge 70s inspired aviator tortoise shell glasses were on almost every model, adorned along with an artsy knit beret. This was a completely different Gucci that we’ve known- one that was very strong into the gender differences- sexy women and strong, masculine men. At the show yesterday, male models were mixed into the crowd and some female models looked like men. The whole gender-neutral concept was strong in this collection and just surprising for the brand.
NYT noticed that Michele was designing for the wearer, instead of designing from a concept which was usually the case. And that meant that a lot of the clothes were not exactly new, which I noticed too. Fur bedroom flats that appeared in the Simone Rocha show two seasons ago surfaced and were also combined with the classic Gucci brogues. In fact, one thing you always see at Gucci would be the luxurious sexy eveningwear closing the show but this time, it was completely different. The closing look featured a pair of red pants that hung off the model’s hips that looked much too low for the modern skinny pants lover. The show certainly presented the 70s very well but did it do well for Gucci? I’m not sure.
This then makes me wonder about the future of fashion. No doubt, there will be concept driven designers like Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen but is the future of luxury fashion only about selling straight off the runway? Designers like Nicholas Ghesquiere and Phoebe Philo also design for wearability but their collections are still concept driven with a stronger focus on construction and fit. Michele over here however, seems to be designing very simple clothes, much too simple for a luxury brand. To put it crudely, I even thought that Hedi Slimane’s clothes looked very much like the ones I could see in Bershka or Pull & Bear. The cut and fabrics are definitely different but somehow, I personally believe that fashion is about seeing something new and unique. It isn’t about producing clothes that has been done before or clothes that could be done easily by someone else.
So where exactly is fashion heading to? The battle between the bottom line and creativity continues.