GUCCI MIND-BOGGLING AND MULTI-FACETED
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