Many will look at Alessandro Michele's Debut for Fall 2015 at Gucci as a Radical departure of the Tom Ford/Frida Giannin Era's of the House. While in many aspects it is just that, at it's Heart, it is more a Reconsideration than a Departure. A... Recalibration more than an Overhaul. Why I would put it in these terms is because, it is in no way apparent that Michele has brushed aside the Signatures and Codes or more directly, The HISTORY of the house, he has just taken the Iconography laid down by Tom and Frida and instilled his Vision into those recognizable Motifs.
Michele obviously knows the House Archive, That he has taken to reapportioning certain hallmarks of the house here and there, may be a Slyly Subversive poke in the ribcage to his Successor Giannini and her Husband Patrizio di Marco (Before any of this happened he was her Lover and CEO of Gucci) whom were unceremoniously Dumped by new head Marco Bizarri after years of critical favour for Giannini's work but less than stellar sales over the past few years. So, in waltzes Michele after Giannini ups and jumps ship after the firing of her Fiance, and being offered to stay and Finish the Fall collection before she was shown the door for good. So, in the wholly uncomfortable position of being given the Captain's wheel of a ship that was FAST Sinking to it's demise, Michele cobbled together a collection with little more than 3 weeks before he had to show it! And with Ford offering a Blithely offhanded and SHADY about Michele when asked about his thoughts on the appointment, Obviously, Michele was in for throwing a little shade of his own!
So, Those Gucci "Flora" Prints that ushered in Both Ford's taking of the Helm (Spring 1994) and Giannini's first outing Chez Gucci (Spring 2006) were turned Right on their Ever-Loving Head by Michele, in a kind of "Anything You Can Do" kind of Spirit, by draining all the Overt, High-Speed Sexiness that were the Stock-and-Trade of all of Michele's Succesors (Lest we forget the thin Sliver of a Gucci moment Occupied by Alessandra Facchinetti!) He turned down the Sex volume to virtually Nil, unless you can count the Androgyne Sexless Lolita style of Sexy that Michele offered. So, That was firstly how he began to shade, Then Exit No. 9 on Molly Bair... OOOOOHH! THE SHADE OF IT ALL!
Did that outfit look in ANY WAY Familiar? It should, for it was a New School Gucci take on the moment when Tom Ford became a Household Name! Fall 1994. Peacock Blue Satin Shirt. Violet Velvet Flares. Madonna MTV Movie Awards. See it now? Michele took one of the most ICONIC Fashion A-Bombs and rendered totally afresh by De-Sexifying it to the point of almost Asexuality and even making it... one could say... DEMURE, with the little Black Schoolboy ribbon at the neck! Again, it was, a Shout out to Ford, Like "Eh, I ain't Afraid of you, Bitch!" I'll take what you did and do it my way! It was a Subtly, but Gigantically, Ballsy move. There is no way in Hell you cannot see the Allusion to the Gucci Fall 1994 collection in this.
So, outside of the Reading The House Down, in Fashion Form, to Giannini and Ford (The Liberry Is Now Closed!) Michele kinda of Middle fingered them in the sense that for the last 20 years, Gucci has been the Epitome of Untouchably Luxurious, High Roller, Jet Set, Expensive, Sex In The Champagne Room GLAM-MORE! Michele said, "BASTA!" to all that and exorcised the Gucci Whorehouse and made it Respectable again (as respectable as showing Tons of Nipple can be) Virginal almost. The Fall 2015 Gucci woman is now an Eclectic Tomboyish Magpie, who sifts through dusty attics and thrift shops and Anna Sui Boutiques for a Hippyish, Celia Birtwell meets Talitha Getty on the way to Joni Mitchell's Place for a Love-In!
What was so accomplished about Michele's fast tracked debut was how Fully Formed it was! We were given access to the Oeuvre Michele is going to be working and how thoroughly complete the look was for the Previewing of what's now in store for us. Michele did not Waiver or succumb to the recent history of the house. He, rather bravely, stuck to his vision and come Hell or High Water, Success or Failure, was going to present his Imagining of what Gucci now, must be! The Quirky, Kooky mix is frankly, Entrancing. It's so Boldly Unapologetic that it teeters on being Defiant. A Fashion "Fuck You!" in a sense. Michele didn't pander to anyone and offer more recognizably Gucci fare, nope, this ain't your Mama's Gucci, Buddy! This is Nueve Gucci! And that is a woman who is in touch with her Youthful nature, but has a Mature Sense of herself. That was the Giddy Contradictory nature of the show, Ingenue and Sophisticate all wrapped up in one Nutty, Off-the-Wall Package!
With pieces like the Angelic Creme Pink Astrakhan Bathrobe Coat and a Vibrant Blue Sweater Deluged with heavy encrustations of Needlepoint and Beading and Sequin Embroidery over the filmiest of Nude coloured lace Skirts, Michele showed he has the Extravagant chops to keep the Luxury Hounds that come to the house for such indulgences, Mouths Watering and Pulses Racing. He will also attract a Younger and decidedly more Experimental customer who will be in Sync with his Crazy-Quilt ideas and sense of the Improvisatory! What we as onlookers can expect is some newly exciting fashion to Flourish from this Germ and for it to grow into a Behemoth of a Beanstalk in seasons to come. The only thing we have to concern ourselves with is, Will Michele learn to Grow this idea and not become Stagnant and Fallow? Truth be told, he can only work this idea for so long before it becomes Tedious, or More Awfully, Parodical!