To inaugurate Milan Fashion Week this afternoon, Gucci showed a collection called “The Alchemist’s Garden” for Fall 2017. The invitation read, “What are we going to do with all this future?”; the 120-look runway show featured both men’s and women’s. It was decidedly maximalist, which is the single most effective word to describe Alessandro Michele’s design style and ironic, too, given the show notes (future) and the overwhelming references to the past. I’m speaking particularly of the championing thread of ’80s ephemera with large-and-in-charge, brightly colored shoulder pads; studded jean jackets; lurex leggings (actually, these were catsuits) and big hair.
But the ’50s and ’60s marked themselves present, too, with hair that looked like it once belonged to Elvis, and the headscarves his grand dames perhaps wore.
I shouldn’t omit the references to the 1990s, either; in one instance, it looked like a model had co-opted the identity of Wayne’s World‘s Garth.
One look was completely and utterly from today.
There were some nods to Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, too.
These were especially interesting because that movie, though it came out in 2001, wasn’t set during any particular time period and it seems as if that was, overall, the point of this collection. The aforementioned eras were just the tip of the iceberg with this show. We really were in the Alchemist’s Garden; he is mixing shit up like no one dared to prior to his appointment at Gucci. It transcended time, culture and theme, featured accessories you don’t often see on a runway (umbrellas, books) and even though the hair and the makeup and the jewelry and eyewear ran through 100 different ideas, they were all painted with the same topcoat. A coat you know belongs to Gucci. Was his show answering the question on his invitation? What will we do with all this future? Simply acknowledge that it’s a hodgepodge of manifold elements of the past?
Feature image by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images; all slideshow photos via Vogue Runway.