Alessandro Michele (and Team) Takes A Bow At Gucci
I've wondered why, since women have borrowed from men so often in the last century, why there seldom seemed any 'reciprocal arrangement'. Exceptions of course, for years I've known (male) friends buy women's jeans and T shirts, occasionally and deliberately for the fit, but more for the variety, especially colour, finishes and prints. And of course everyone is screaming 1970s references at Alessandro Michele's Men's collection for Winter. Doesn't anyone remember Kurt Cobain in a dress, the androgyny of utility-wear, and unisex fragrances? Far more grunge than glam, this show had all the hallmarks of generation X in their heyday. A few more designers now seem to be questioning the devisions between menswear and women's wear, Slimane and Prada included, and so Michele is not alone. The HUGE rise of interest and sales in men's RTW has led to more focused and experimental thinking altogether, perhaps about time, now roles in society have changed so much. From that point of view I welcome Gucci's collection, why shouldn't a man wear a pussy bow around his neck? However there was a whole lot of unfinished business about this collection, and I'm not just talking about Giannini's early exit.
Dare we raise the question of who will buy this collection? There are plenty of hipsters, artists and wannabe artists of all kinds who would buy pre-loved women's wear in charity shops (goodwill) but hipsters and my thrifty friends are not going to be buying Gucci, and Gucci's regular customers won't go near anything from this catwalk, so I hope Gucci will have their usual shirts 'at the back' (I'm sure they will). In a way, and maybe sadly, that will make this collection redundant.
No doubt there is also a pressure on designers to concentrate on bottom lines, and I'm not talking about trousers. Hedi Slimane has taken Saint Laurent back to its bohemian routes in many ways, and with it we are told, huge profitability. Valentino has gone rock star crazy, and Kenzo has re-awakened to the cash tills roaring approval of everything tiger. Obviously, rock n roll, no matter how mainstream is still a money spinner now we can all be Stars for 15 seconds on YouTube. Will it work at Gucci? Only time will tell. Gucci has always been about sex and sensuality. Tom Ford or Frida Giannini, the focus has always been on confident femininity and masculinity, no matter the sexual predilection of the wearer. Butter soft leather, feathers or crisp wild silk, there was never an air of ambiguity and self doubt about the Gucci woman or man, Gucci was never street fashion but a fantasy, light years away from the mundane. The vibe for AW15/16 is entirely different.
As for the '5 day' wonder collection. With all the will in the world, Gucci's huge budget and their own factories those clothes were NOT designed, developed, made and styled in five days. The women's-themed menswear was more style-ploy to join a lot of previous year samples and 'found' clothes together and present it as a show. Michele obviously went shopping from Gucci's own closet plus perhaps a hunt in Rome's own thrift shops (kidding). I can see those trousers have had the hems let down, some of the coats are women's (just look at the black Astrakhan!), the rings are cast offs . I think it was more a case of cast the model and see what we've got that fits :-D
All pictures from Gucci.com