Fashion. Its in a particular state right now, and several designers are trying to unpick their way out of the particularity of the situation whilst others have remained stumped. Season to season there is a raging debate on the nature of collections and the impact on the consumer and designer. For us, its a spectator sport as we watch the pendulum swing back and forth whilst trying to make sense of the melee. It is definitely interesting times. Resort is a season I have never really taken seriously, its one of the reasons why I feel the pressure on designers can be debilitating to their creativity; that constant cycle of production, putting together these fashion shows quick on the heels of Ready to Wear Autumn / Winter, and it doesn’t seem as fun.
But then there’s Gucci’s resort show hard to ignore, even harder not to be mesmerised by.
Staged on the grounds significant to British history and traditions- sixty-three years ago to the day, June 2nd 1959 Queen Elizabeth II had her coronation there, 6th September 1997 the late Princess Diana’s funeral service was held there, and on 29th April 2011 William and Catherine were married there. 2nd of June 2016, Alessandro Michele hosted his first resort show for Gucci in the Cloisters of Westminster Abbey, the same grounds upon which Great British moments, happy and sad, have occurred. It feels poignant that an Italian house should show on British soil, it brings to mind even more so the debate surrounding the relationship of Britain with the EU. Far be it for fashion to be the conversation starter on such things, but it couldn’t go amiss at this Gucci show funnily enough.
Let’s talk politics at another time, for now, let’s wallow in the shallow; dig in our heels and parade in pretty dresses.
Gucci Resort 2016. First things first, this collection felt familiar, the look, the style, rang very Marc Jacobs, without knowing I actually thought it was Marc’s own collection not Gucci, the house best known for its douse of fine Italian luxury and doses of pizzaz than the quirky coolness on display. If you look with one eye there was a dashing of Vivienne Westwood too. This is Gucci like its seldom been done, we are used to the slickness, sharpness and luxury of Gucci by Gucci but this here had that along side street style, goth, prairie and the lot.
I can only imagine the traffic and the spectacle caused by the fashion glitterati and stunned bystanders as they arrived the Abbey in Victoria, taxi drivers wondering ‘the bloody ‘ell’. The models took to the stone runway, amid the grand and glorious stained windows and majestic arches decked in the very finest of Gucci. It takes me back to Ford’s debut collection for Gucci and his single handed revival of the once staid house. Where Ford was sex and glamour, Michele is all quirky, still glamorous, but plentiful. Flipping through the stills, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the surreality of it, a rare fashion moment that will be talked about for years to come.
Fashion has been limited by its own rules and expectations that sees designers scrambling for a different point of view, causing a conundrum in such a creative outlet and until recently designers have felt beholden to those rules, now there is a sense of I don’t give a fuck rebellion at play with some designers choosing to sit out the season, others opting for a more immediate production model, and some others bucking tradition all together- Michele has side stepped those talks and leaped whole body first into this new and un-defining era fashion is slowly going towards.
Typically, in fashion the rule of thumb is that less is more but in this instance, less is limiting and more is more, this collection was more, everything about it was much more. Too much, but oddly just enough. There was not one singular look they were all demanding of attention, we didn’t get comfortable with a certain theme and we never knew what to expect from one look to the next. It takes a particular mind to pull that off. One who truly enjoys playing with tones and textures, eras and details. The looks made you lean a little closer, sit up and take notice, the bibbed dresses, the intricate detailing on the gowns, an especial favourite was the bronze bibbed maxi gown with stunning embroidery. Prints tapered with the signature Gucci stripe, another favourite was the adaptation of a look favoured by the Queen herself, the English granny look- scarf and spectacle, together with that red coat, its a look for all seasons. The blue and white maxi gown with a bibbed ruffled neck and shiny stripe sash- sounds too much? Yes it was but it was ace perfection. The colour block structured number, the handbags… my word the handbags! There English references here were aplenty from punk to goth, fairytale to the manor born, you quickly got the sense that nothing about this was ever going to be subtle, and a new found respect for Michele’s work playing with moods and feeling as he does with texture and tones; dainty pieces alongside the brash and bold. The setting only added to the drama of the collection but I would imagine all that set against the romantic tones of Scarborough Fair and the hallowed halls, it was quite a surreal place to be.
To a great extent, if we are to read between the lines, this show represents the state of affairs of the world, as we navigate the ever changing landscape of life, there comes a need to reflect that in the daily and to that end this was a representation of more than one genre, more that one mood, more than one era. Playing with the old and making it new again, the additions of things to things, the constant change in a collage of humankind, an unlimited thinking and feeling, energy and vibe.
This was a statement of freedom, both creatively and otherwise and about time too.