Grazia (UK) - - Fashion -

Si­enna Miller. ‘ There’s this con­stant bal­ance be­tween do­ing time­less things. But the thing is, we’re do­ing fash­ion, we want to be in the mo­ment. That’s why I’ve cho­sen this job.’

NEXT STOP: THE GUCCI grave­yard. Or rather, Les Alyscamps, the an­cient Ro­man necrop­o­lis just out­side the walls of Ar­les in the heart of Provence. It was dark when we took our seats in the burial ground along­side the an­cient sar­cophagi, mist curl­ing, the air full of the eerie sound of church bells. A fuse was lit and a line of fire shot down a nar­row chan­nel, set­ting the path­way ablaze. It was an epic opener, even by cre­ative di­rec­tor Alessan­dro Michele’s stan­dards – his last show in Mi­lan turned Gucci’s HQ into an op­er­at­ing theatre with mod­els car­ry­ing repli­cas of their own heads un­der their arms. But this was some­thing else. Or as Mil­len­ni­als ob­sessed with Gucci like to put it: This was every­thing. It was like watch­ing a cliff-hanger episode of Michele’s Guc­ci­fi­ca­tion se­ries, a bone-chill­ing drama with mind-boggling, multi-faceted fash­ion that high­lighted his awe­some­ness to the max. ‘ The show’s char­ac­ters are imag­ined through a mix of wid­ows at­tend­ing grave sites, kids play­ing rock stars, ladies who aren’t ladies. It’s a place that be­longs to ev­ery­one and the idea that death is a fas­ci­na­tion,’ said the show notes.

Peel back the lay­ers – veils, trains, cloaks, head­dresses, bou­quets of flow­ers – and the com­mer­cial big hit­ters be­gan to re­veal them­selves: a Chateau Mar­mont laun­dry bag, those neon-bright tre­ble-soled sneak­ers, printed silk track suits, a per­fectly po­lite form-fit­ting navy coat, a white Chaneli­fied skirt suit, a giant flo­ral printed puffer jacket, leg­gings, sweat­shirts – you name it, all des­tined to sell up a storm. Even the dreamy gowns – in­clud­ing a ghostly white dress whose flow­ing train came so dan­ger­ously close to the fire it had us all on ten­ter­hooks ready to throw our jack­ets over the model who wore it, were the stuff of red car­pets for the A-list in­di­vid­u­al­ist.

It’s in­cred­i­ble that of all the de­sign­ers out there, Alessan­dro Michele has be­come fash­ion’s pied-piper-in-chief – where he leads, oth­ers have tried to fol­low

be­cause the true magic of it all is that it ac­tu­ally sells: Gucci sales soared 42% in 2017. But this de­signer is a true one-off – an un­re­peat­able au­then­tic icon­o­clast. Only he could get El­ton John to an an­cient ceme­tery out­side Ar­les to ser­e­nade us at the end of the night. Sit­ting at a grand pi­ano, be­hind di­a­mond-framed Gucci sun­glasses, he ded­i­cated Rocket Man to his friend Michele who sat with him on stage, as emo­tion­ally over­whelmed by the mo­ment as the rest of us. As Cruise shows go, this will be hard to ever top. And the rain held off, too. Per­haps Gucci got hold of a shaman af­ter all – his name? Alessan­dro Michele.

Top: El­ton John Main: ‘Death is a fas­ci­na­tion’ – Gucci’s grave­yard

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