Since the debut of creative director Alessandro Michele at Gucci over a year ago, the growth of the $4 billion brand has exceeded expectations with his new, youthful vision. The current hype around Gucci is a remarkable step for the Italian fashion house, which was founded in 1921.
The relatively unknown designer – who had been quietly working behind the scenes at Gucci for the last 12 years – has certainly made an impact in a short time, with his recent collections creating levels of hysteria with fashion-lovers around the world. The CEO of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, recently recognised that, in the past year, the brand had registered sales of €3.9 billion, a rise of 11.5 percent from the previous year, with the biggest increase found in the under-34-year-old age bracket – all since Michele took over the reigns. Michele’s total transformation of Gucci has everyone talking. With his daring and eclectic designs, every piece has a sense of romanticism with colour, texture and embellishments. There’s a sense of familiarity with his designs, like something you’d find in a vintage shop – that silk bomber jacket you’ve always wanted – or perhaps a denim jacket covered in embroidery. Michele looks at the Gucci wearer with an androgynous and refreshing view. Men and women now share the runway, with a view that designs can and should be worn by all. It’s no surprise that with this idea, many of the designs are purposefully unisex, available to purchase online and customisable – the ultimate luxury. Designs feature maps, psychedelia, nature, animals – all with an eccentric twist through Michele’s eyes. I recently visited the Rodeo Drive store in Los Angeles and viewed the latest collections – the craftsmanship is remarkable. With beading, embroidery, lavish sequin trompe l’oeil ruffles and bows – it’s clothing to be fanatical about. From talking to the sales assistants, it’s clear the new era is an exciting time for those working for the brand as well. You can tell they really love it. For a fashion house that has always been about the classic double-G symbol of luxury and unattainable fashion that perhaps we’d see in our grandmother’s wardrobe, all of a sudden everyone wants a piece of Gucci. With the new creative direction we now see plants, insects and birds accompanying the iconic Gucci branding on bags and accessories. Rethinking and reinventing the brand entirely – from the online store, the advertising campaigns, flagship stores to social media and film, Michele has also enlisted director Gia Coppola (the granddaughter of legendary Godfather director Francis Ford) to create a lush four-part series to further cement his vision. The series is a modern imagination of the Greek myth of Orpheus starring Lou Dillon and Marcel Castenmiller. Dialogue free; with Michele’s designs as hero in the modern and urban setting of New York, the films are completed with an original score by musician Dev Hynes (Blood Orange).
Alongside the new direction, the runway shows have been revitalised. Men’s and women’s fashion are now shown together and highly stylised by Michele. In a local connection, Adelaide models Lily Nova and Madison Stubbington walked the runway in Westminster Abbey for the 2017 Cruise Collection. For Stubbington, the 18-year-old model has featured in a number of new Gucci campaigns and in the capsule collection for Net-A-Porter. Nova recently starred as one of the select female models in the men’s spring 2017 show.
Michele has inspired us to rethink the way we look at fashion. Don’t be afraid to clash prints, colours, fabrics and accessories – wear it all (yes, at the same time). Take inspiration from the unconventional and, like Michele, find beauty in the strange. gucci.com