Gucci Does the Most

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.


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  • Aydan

    loved loved loved seeing the pictures from gucci! I think this is a brilliant take and they are continuing to innovate!

  • Katelin Beckring

    I feel like he’s been showing the same thing for past however many seasons he’s been there… just a hodgepodge of ” whimsical stuff” strewn together. How is no one tired of this? At first it was admirable, now it’s more like ‘okay we’ve seen you do this before.’ He makes clothes that that are to be ‘revisited’, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But sometimes too much shit going down the runway can just feel claustrophobic and distracting. And really 125 different looks? How are you supposed to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship when each look seems to be telling a different kind of story?

    • Delphine Gintz

      I agree with that, and kind of miss the point of this show. I mean, I always viewed the designer as an artist, but here it just seems like he is showing a bunch of clothes found in a thrift shop (don’t get me wrong, I like them, but the point is to wear something that already exists, while the designer usually looks for something new and creative). Also, the idea of picking in the past disturbs me, as if we couldn’t look forward to a modern form of couture, that would be our own, and not our parents’

  • Pandora Sykes

    Way more my vibe. Nice pivot, Alessandro.

  • mollie blackwood

    I’ve loved everything from Gucci the past few seasons. This one is probably my least favorite but I still think it’s fun. I did however totally think the “Garth” model was a joke.

  • There was one look that I thought looked like 10s does 80s does 40s which was amusing. I’m not a huge fan of the clothes themselves (sorry) but I can appreciate that Michele doesn’t pressure himself to come up with a whole new style story every season. I like seeing a designer fully explore a concept in this day of fast, well, everything.

  • Mary

    I loved this article and I loved this collection – I get why people aren’t a fan (125 looks!!), but isn’t that the whole point of New Gucci?