In literature, an epilogue is meant to provide closure and resolution. However, in the fashion world, rules are less strict and things can be more fluid. Naming his latest collection “Epilogue,” presented with a digital narrative during Milan digital fashion week, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele wanted to close what he calls “a trilogy of love,” which kicked off with the February show and continued with the fall 2020 advertising campaign. But at the same time he aimed to open a new door on the future of the brand.
“In this sense, the epilogue that I deliver to you today really feels like an overture. A watershed that closes and opens at the same time, a threshold of a new beginning, from which we try to imagine our tomorrow,” Michele wrote in the show notes.
If in February the designer celebrated the ceremony of the runway show as the ultimate creative moment where designing, making, staging and viewing collide by shining a spotlight on all the people that usually operate behind the scenes, with “The Ritual” advertising campaign, released in May, he invited models to shoot their own images at a time of social distancing and lockdowns.
“Finally, the epilogue comes, to seal the closure of a trilogy of love. This last movement goes around another short-circuit,” Michele wrote. “The clothes will be worn by those who created them. The designers with whom, every day, I share the daze of creation, will become the performers of a new story.”
In Michele’s inside-out process, the creator becomes the performer. The secret art of creation takes the stage. Do clothes acquire new values? Perhaps yes, if those who wear them are fully aware of the processes behind their designing and manufacturing.
Through this role reversal, fashion rejects the idealized idea of beauty epitomized by models and becomes closer to everyday life, with the clothes shown on a wide range of body types and interpreted by people who are not used to taking the stage.
Fashion-wise, the collection was a continuation of the narrative that Michele has written for the Gucci brand ever since he took the reins five years ago. An opulent, gender-fluid story made up of colors, prints and dissonant touches. There were intarsia knits — luxury ‘s reinvention of the ugly sweater; retro shirtdresses; Seventies suits; impeccable loden coats; vintage-like outerwear in upholstery fabrics; fluid rainbow frocks and floral gowns; logo denim bombers, and elevated tracksuits. Everything one expects from Michele’s Gucci was there, including naïf touches, such as Donald Duck and Doraemon prints peppering accessories, but also an extended collaboration with Mantero’s Ken Scott that resulted in a range of floral patterns splashed on everything from sartorial suits to printed puffers.
Is Michele bidding arrivederci to this very specific aesthetic with his “Epilogue” chapter? For sure, the social and cultural scenario in which the designer operates has changed and, particularly in the wake of the global pandemic, customers might feel the need to be seduced by a new fashion proposal. We’ll just have to wait for a new prologue.