It’s Gucci’s World, We’re Just Dressing for It

My favorite Wes Anderson quote is from Moonrise Kingdom, when Sam asks Suzy, “What kind of bird are you?” She states her breed quickly: “I’m a raven.” She’s a human, actually, but when we assign ourselves roles and dress them up in costume, we become them — even if temporarily.

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele creates collections of costumes for his audience to slip into vicariously. His designs are rabbit holes that lead to wonderlands. If you buy Gucci, borrow Gucci or lust after Gucci, then surely you must feel that all of this is a little over-the-top on purpose. That’s fun fashion in a seashell, isn’t it: knowing that the “real” you, the “off-duty” you, wouldn’t ACTUALLY wear fill-in-the-blank (in the case of Spring 2018: a power shouldered metallic onesie; a bejeweled beard chin-strap; a purple pussy bow the size of a massive cat) to the grocery story, or even to a party.

But the most in-your-dreams version of you would without question. The most glorious, on-the-moon, “mood: extra” version of you would absolutely embrace all of this shiny, all of this volume, all of these sequins. If you were to shoot a fashion editorial of your life — in outer space! — with you as the star, you’d have no choice but to wear Gucci. It would either be that or go naked. There’s an elaborate rider inside our brains that demands a make-believe wardrobe like this. There has to be; why else would we gravitate toward it?

Stella Bugbee, Editor in Chief of The Cut, declared the red sequin-caped look her “superhero outfit.” Later, she asked which would be mine. (Hardest question ever; look 16, obviously.) I hadn’t even considered superheroes, though, because I spent the whole show trying to identify which 1980s heyday’d, retired, fancy, Upper East Side eccentric was me. (Look 52? 53? 96?) It’s almost as if we view Alessandro’s entire shows, season by season, in costumes all their own, then identify within each collection our singular identity from the larger grouping.

That’s what makes it feel so wildly (and strangely) personal. The key question, then, is not whether or not you’d wear it, or if you liked it, or if you’d buy it, but rather: Which figment of Alessandro’s imagination, which persona, costume, category, bird — are you?

View a show through this telescope and you’ll never look at a runway the same again.

Feature image by Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images; runway photos via Vogue Runway. 

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  • tmm16

    Loved your review, Amelia, and totally agree that Michele is a genius when it comes to creating the “costumes” and fantasy for consumers to imagine themselves in the looks and ultimately visualizing themselves in the clothes as the “mood: extra” version of themselves. My fantasy look would be a combo of the crying glasses (#13) and the purple/green snake pant suit (#4) – they don’t really go together, but in my head, they do! Also, I rarely ever get chills from a fashion show and I had chills watching Gucci today.

    Unrelated and maybe I missed a sentence in a previous article, but horror: main theme this fashion week? First, Calvin with the American Psycho vibe, then the silence at Marc Jacobs was kinda spooky, then Gucci with the scary futuristic/alien-esque art direction? Am I alone here in thinking this? LMK.

    • Claude

      Totally agree this show had a spooky vibe! The models’ vacant expressions, stony even for a catwalk, combined with their 70’s glasses are giving me major Jeffery Dahmer vibes. Weirder still, I’m into it.

      • Amelia Diamond

        !! you guys i want to write about the spooky shit at fashion week now!!

    • Mary

      I’m feeling some mild horrorpunk/psychobilly jubilance and I’m so cool with it – everything is horrible and scary and that’s so absurd we have to find the humor in it?

      • Amelia Diamond

        you guys are so right!!

        • Mary

          PLEASE WRITE ABOUT IT – “How Everyday Horror Became Mainstream.” All my students (middle school) are super into It and Stranger Things and even Rick and Morty (my personal fave) – the absurd and horrific is treeeeeeending!

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Hayley

    Great review, Amelia! I’d say… look #32 is my super villain outfit, and look #53 is my superhero outfit.

  • Bury me in look 82

  • Chantel

    Fabulous collection.

  • When I read your post I was moved to comment! Alessandro is Part genius , Part circus producer , Part magician and Part comedian. I feel that we all take fashion as such a serious endeavor, Michele is saying lighten up , enjoy , live a joyful life and say f**k you to all who can’t take it !!
    Dress The Part

    • Marta Millere

      Part brilliant brilliant stylist and historian 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      welcome to the commenting club jandrew!

  • Mary

    EXACTLY, AMELIA! So many not-fashion people (meaning that with NO shade – it’s a world unto its own) are like “omg who would wear this what is fashion lol”, but that’s is NOT the point – the point is IF we did, which would we? Replace “bird” with “fashion house” and it makes perfect sense. (also I want to be buried in look 53).

  • mariahg

    This show is a more wearable version of the citizens of the Capitol from the Hunger Games and I am LIVING for it (and Effie Trinket wouldn’t even mind if Alessandro Michele scratched the mahogany).

  • Paola GP

    This was, in a seashell, just the brain-vacation I needed for hump day, thank you <3

    • Amelia Diamond

      i am reading your comment on a friday so you made it!!

  • Arden

    shoutout to look 17 for serving straight up margot tenenbaum realness

    • Selena Delgado


    • Aydan

      my immediate thought too!

    • Amelia Diamond

      for reallll

  • Sehnsational Style

    I really like this way of examining the show. Michele is an absolute genius and I love how he allows you to become a “mood: extra” version of yourself with this collection and his others!

  • Caroline Kloster

    This was beautifully articulated, Amelia–you put just the right spin on what can sometimes feel confusing about Gucci. Now, waiting for the next Gucci show feels like counting down the days until a new, much-anticipated movie comes out, and I can’t wait to meet all the characters!!

  • Ashlyn Grace

    #22 is giving me serious Anna of Arendelle vibes and I’m on board ngl

    • Amelia Diamond

      so many references in the comments today i am lovinggg this

  • Junglesiren

    Superhero, eh? Super Golden Girl, would be more like it. I guess that I am, once again, the voice if dissent! I loved his earlier seasons… but, except for a very few pieces, I didn’t like this collection. Quite honestly it felt to me as if he didn’t care anymore. “They’ll buy anything I throw up there” is what I got.

    But hey… I’m just me, I don’t get paid to critique fashion… maybe that’s a good thing.

  • Marta Millere

    Omg the semi-transparent logo-ed fabrics of looks 9 and 102?!

  • Emmie

    i also feel like it’s different persona choices for Joan Cusack’s character in Addams Family Values no. 12 & 25 come at me

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Catherine Bugler

    “Gucci’s Alessandro Michele creates collections of costumes for his audience to slip into vicariously. His designs are rabbit holes that lead to wonderlands” is a bloody great sentence from a great article, Amelia. Thank you MR always knowing that fashion (i.e. the feminine) is intelligent.

    • Amelia Diamond

      thank YOU

  • Elisa Parrino Rensovich

    I LOVED every piece of his collection. It’s exactly as Amelia describes. This is a collection so eclectic so colorful and original, a challenge for imagination. It makes you dream, escape, and become something your wild imagination can only dare. The color are vibrant, shapes are out of anyone comfort zone.
    If you can’t afford to buy Gucci, you will try to emulate. And that’s when a fashion house wins, that’s when you dictate the rules for the next season. I’m waiting spring summer 2018 like a kiddo is waiting for christmas morning.

  • Meemaw

    I broke up with color a few years ago, it just didn’t work out. But maybe I should give it a call.

    • Aydan

      DO IT!

      • Meemaw

        I am a woman of a certain age though, I have to proceed with caution. I could end up resembling a wrinkly bag of Skittles. 😀

        • Aydan

          stilllll!! pops of colors are an easier integration! (trying today with my black jumpsuit and bubblegum pink heels!)

        • Amelia Diamond

          no such thing!!! DO IT. post pics here.

  • Caroline Fallon

    Hi Amelia,

    This was an awesome review. As an avid, somewhat obsessive fan of Wes Anderson, I really appreciated the connection you made here. I have always found the relationship between Anderson and Gucci to be striking and arguably from the same world or Wonderland. Gucci and Anderson go together like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2007. Whether Anderson has been inspiring Gucci or vise-versa, their codependent designs have been keeping alive a timeless and magical world that we can all act in. Thank you for your awesome work!

    • Amelia Diamond

      “Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2007”!!!!!!!!

  • @charm_pdx

    I hope Alessandro Michele’s vision for Gucci gives people the courage to really go for it in the way they dress next spring. Any push of fashion towards fantastical self-expression gets the thumbs up from me. As a vintage seller and collector I say get a Gucci purse and then go online or visit in-person the vintage clothes purveyors that the Margot Tenenbaums of the world buy from.

  • Christel Michelle

    I can actually see myself wear look 11 to class, look 53 to my ex’s funeral :), look 82 to a Christmas party, look 101 to a dinner party, and look 107 to a wedding. Ah, what I would to have an unending bank account right now.