Talk about a power move.
Gucci shut down Hollywood Boulevard Tuesday night and used the Walk of Fame for a runway of cinematic scale, showing more than 100 looks and tapping 12 celebrity models, including Jared Leto, Macaulay Culkin, St. Vincent and Miranda July.
Searchlights lit up the sky, and the street was cleared of celebrity impersonators, hucksters, evangelists and tourists, at least for a few hours. It was a Hollywood fantasy down to the neon marquee of the El Capitan Theatre flashing “Gucci Love Parade.”
“I feel like I’m on a movie set,” said Tracee Ellis Ross. “The show hasn’t started, but honestly, I feel like it has the way everyone has put themselves together,” she said of the scene, where Miley Cyrus mixed with Lizzo, Maneskin strolled past Olympic skateboarder Nyjah Huston, and Gwyneth Paltrow, in her iconic Gucci red velvet suit, posed with Dakota Johnson, the new paramour of her ex-husband Chris Martin.
Only in Hollywood!
Alessandro Michele wanted to be a costume designer before he settled on fashion, and has had a love fest with Hollywood since starting as creative director of Gucci in 2015. He’s cast Leto for perfume ads; collaborated with Elton John on a capsule collection; outfitted Harry Styles for his transition from boy band to solo star and made him the face of Gucci tailoring; debuting the star-packed seven-part miniseries “Ouverture of Something That Never Ended” with Gus Van Sant, and on and on.
It was all leading up to this.
“This was me embracing again the love of my work and how much of this brand is bound to cinema,” the designer said of choosing to hold Gucci’s first in-person show since the pandemic in L.A.. “Hollywood is the American Olympus,” added Michele, explaining how his mother worked in film, and introduced him to the silver-screen classics.
Indeed, the Gucci logo directors’ chairs for the evening’s 500 all-front row guests bore the names of screen gods and goddesses as well as Greek and Roman deities.
How could one not be riveted? The collection also delivered — from haute glamour-puss gowns, 1940s-meets-1970s tailoring, and multicolored lace tuxes fastened with floppy fabric corsages, to casual Gucci “souvenir” shirts, floral boiler suits, racy Gucci logo leggings and catsuits, which could open up a whole new fitness category for the brand.
Where the Aria collection, shown via short film in April, marked Gucci’s centenary by paying homage to its bourgeois roots and its rise to the realm of pop culture through music, this Love Parade was about Hollywood’s role in making the Gucci myth, including the many costume designers that Michele has so clearly been inspired by, from Travis Banton to Adrian to Arianne Phillips, whose Aloha shirt for Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” came to mind.
“America has given fashion so many iconic pieces through cinema and succeeded in what we might call real fashion,” said Michele, reflecting on how for him, Hollywood reverberates in the streets, in how people dress everyday and have twisted the icons to take on new meaning.
To wit: If Hollywood is built on desire, there was plenty to seduce, from teasing marabou-trimmed dressing gowns, serpent coiled bodice dresses and trailing boas of the golden age, to tantalizing “50 Shades” sex toys as jewelry, fetishist masks, latex corsets and bras, as well as Western wear and cowboy hats taken, Michele said, from queer cinema, but just as well could have come from Lil Nas X.
Certain looks had unmistakable references to blonde venuses Marilyn Monroe and Mae West, broad-shouldered heroes Rock Hudson and John Wayne, and other ghosts enshrined in the starry sidewalks underneath, except in Gucciwood, they weren’t constrained by race, gender, size or a studio mogul’s ideal, and were likely accessorized with individual face jewelry and cool spectacles.
It was a lovely parade — and melancholy, too. Because Michele knows there is a dark side to Hollywood. And in the morning, the boulevard will be back with a new cast of characters.