If anything could make sleep-deprived editors and buyers forget about their uncomfortable redeye flights and the truly life-ruining rainy weather (particularly for those 0f us without car service) on Wednesday, it was Alessandro Michele's vibrant spring 2016 collection for Gucci.
Guests walked into an otherwise dreary, raw industrial space that was transformed into an esplanade with bushes surrounding the seating area; the floors were lined with a snake-patterned carpet and accented with room dividers in bright prints. With the teal upholstered chairs and bright pink seating cards, every detail was considered, making for another Wes Anderson-esque experience.
The setting had a familiar, yet retro, yet almost historic feel — but there was something displaced about it. As it turns out, Michele was inspired by a "Situationist dérive: the playful practice of crossing and exploring urban spaces."
I can't even begin to summarize the intellectualization of this concept that made up the show notes, but I can say Michele put a lot of care and thought into this collection. While there were obvious references to the '70s, one couldn't say he simply made another collection inspired by an era he enjoys aesthetically. (Although, this may be the last season we can handle so many pussy bow blouses.) He certainly maintained the vintage-inspired, smart girl quirk we saw last season, but he took that further, referencing cartography and using trompe l'oeil in new ways. The color combinations — pastel pink and blue on the bodice of a dress with a billowing black, and a red and lime green striped skirt for instance — are unlike anything we've seen, particularly among Milan's established houses that aren't known for experimentation.
Michele's appointment as creative director of Gucci is almost unfortunate for Milan's very few emerging designers, who were getting attention for finally bringing something new and fresh to the city's aging fashion conversation. Now, one of its most well-known houses is doing that, too.
Not that Michele doesn't have commerce in mind. There were a number of new loafer styles that I'm sure several editors and street style stars have already inquired about pre-ordering. That the maximalist clothes are inspiring lust as well — just look at all of the recent Instagram posts mentioning the label, particularly those of stylist Leith Clark, who flew to Milan specifically for the show.
What Michele needs next, in my opinion, is that perfect celebrity muse: Alexa Chung attended the show, but she's too much of a fashion fan to stay loyal to one brand. Perhaps one of Clark's clients like Keira Knightley; or Elle Fanning, who wore a fall 2015 look (glasses included) in Vogue recently, would be the right fit.