An Alchemist’s Garden in Milan

Gucci kicked off Milan Fashion Week with their first unified presentation under Alessandro Michele’s reign. Since his start, Michele has gradually been creating pieces that boast an androgynous feel, signaling that Gucci can and will be worn by all. “The one thing I really love to go against is the idea that you need fashion rules,” said Michele of the collection. The result of the unification was a collection so large (119 looks in total) and so Alessandro Michele, that the final procession lasted a full six minutes.

Showgoers were fed enigmatic messages about the collection, starting before the show with an invitation containing a vinyl record. The cover read “What are we going to do with all this future?” This in the same Coco Capitan writing that adorned select pieces on the runway, and featured the voices of Florence Welch and A$AP Rocky. Within the shownotes, attendees were given a further glimpse into Michele’s frenzied genius. “A garden inhabited by signs, symbols, and archetypes invoking and recalling remote worlds,” read part of the notes, detailing what was to come while still leaving a veil of mystery.

What awaited the audience held the same air of mystery. The intricate runway was completely concealed by heavy, velvet, dark purple stage curtains. The strobing pink lights bounced off the curtains as if they were eager to show what was behind them. Curtains up: a runway enclosed in glass is revealed. In the middle sits a mirrored pyramid, its point topped with a rooster weather vane. The soundtrack to the production is filled with heavy strings and a vocal overlay, with twinkling electronic bits sprinkled throughout.

The collection itself was a pastiche of various eras and inspirations, but there wasn’t a feeling of disconnect between looks. While explaining the vision behind the odds and ends of his collection, Michele stated, “I was thinking of a garden, where I can pick everything I need to make gold.” From this garden came intricate embroidery wherever seen fit, a heavy load of brightly colored snakeskin pieces, and the occasional full body crystal suit. Michele continued to add to his favored theme of animalia with the addition of CHIROPTERA (or, simply put, the bat).

Florals were boldly contrasted by tartan plaids; metallic pieces gleamed as they swished from left to right. In addition, Michele drew bits and pieces from popular eras in history. Among them, an all black dress straight out of Film Noir, a fringed leather jacket from the Wild West, and 80s rocker t-shirts paired with heavily embellished leather jackets.

As the end neared, Michele walked the runway to take a quick and humble bow. He wore a bright yellow Gucci graphic t-shirt, ripped denim, and a New York Yankees cap. In one of his greatest and most obscure collections to date, Alessandro Michele, the alchemist, truly turned his findings into gold.


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