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Front Row Access: Gucci Is Here To Thrill The Senses

Milan Fashion Week kicks off with cat debutante ball gowns, two-in-one platforms, giant hats and tinsel capes at Gucci.

Before diving into the beef, we feel that it is necessary to at least mention the three-dimensional invite that Gucci sent out for its Spring/Summer 2017 show yesterday afternoon. A pop-up archaic stage featuring a snake, a bird and a Medusa-type head – except, the dragon-snakes were coming out of her eyeballs – good lord was the invite beautiful. Good invitations tease of what is to come, and that was exactly what Gucci’s little invite did.

It is clear at this point that a Gucci show under the revolutionary helm of Alessandro Michele is never just about the display of clothes. Plainly put, it is more like a performance, and there is a story to be told, a script to be unveiled. Coupled with the solemn, almost meditative track of the day, the models looked more like members of a marching procession than mannequins on a runway. Michele’s stage for the season was drenched in red, rather like a filter that rendered a surreal, seventies disco-meets-Chinatown touch to the show.

But what of the clothes? Oh, there was plenty for the eye to see. Where do we even start? The beauty of Michele’s Gucci is that while there is that ever-present, overarching “Gucci look”, each look somehow manages to look vastly different from the other. There is no such thing as a “similar look” at Gucci. Even the hair from model to model was different. Embrace your individuality, it seemed to say.

Silhouettes and textures were exaggerated this time. Berets were dropped for giant hats, fascinators, turban-bows and veils. Gucci’s signature hot-as-hotcakes loafers were swapped for towering platforms of brocades and rhinestones. (A little bird told us that one of the platforms is actually a two-in-one. As if we needed more reasons to buy shoes. Enough, enough!) Shine in the form of sequins, embroidery and metallic textures were all around. Could this be Gucci’s most maximal collection yet?

Michele has made it a point to drop a gown or five each season, but those shown on Wednesday were in a league of their own. Decadent is the word that comes to mind. Some opened like delicate fans, others like blooming flowers. One was even embroidered with a cat. There were gold-drenched robes that evoked emperors of a bygone time, right alongside Jane Austen-ish puff sleeves and empire waists, and a cape that looked like it was morphed from Christmas tinsel. (It was, we later realised.) The mood was solemn, but the clothes screamed fun.

Gucci’s brand of gender blurring continues with a series of truly spectacular pantsuits, coupled with logo sweatshirts and sculptural pieces printed with the words “Modern Future”. What does it all mean? We’re not quite sure. From what we can takeaway from the show’s mind-boggling press release, it is something to do with challenging what the mind is used to, forcing it to “undergo a kind of sensual panic”, as it reads. We’re not quite sure if “panic” is the right word to describe what we felt as Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2017 floated like a dream before us, but did it excite our senses to a hair-raising point? Oh, hell yeah.

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