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.