Despite its quintessentially ephemeral nature, fashion also represents transition — between styles, cultural mores and eras.
However, Alessandro Michele wanted to associate his latest Gucci collection to eschatology, the doctrine that explores the ultimate destiny of humans and the universe. In fact, the word was printed on what is likely destined to become the lineup’s ultimate bestseller — an oversized T-shirt available in multiple colors also decorated with the numbers 1921 and 25, Gucci’s foundation year and Michele’s favorite number, respectively.
Fashion and eschatology: what a weird combination. Is it nonsensical or does it express a desire to define a new concept of fashion whereby, along with the different major arts, it becomes a tool to interpret our passage through life?
Michele has already demonstrated he leaves nothing to chance. There is a meaning behind each of his fashion pieces, communication campaigns or commercial and marketing strategies for Gucci. Actually, his new “Ouverture of Something That Never Ended Collection” turned out to be a big, rich puzzle filled with references and hidden symbols that required some philological effort to track down and decipher.
Much has been said of the unique collaboration that Michele developed with Gus Van Sant to unveil the brand’s spring-summer 2021 collection though a series of seven mini-films injected with surrealism and intense lyricism. The incredible performance of actress Silvia Calderoni; cameos by Harry Styles and Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva, Billie Eilish’s new track, as well as the delivery of an overall elevated image of Italian culture and beauty, free from the typical stereotypes, definitely stood out in the project but didn’t overshadow the collection itself. In fact, Michele knows very well that a collection that’s successful at both the aesthetic and commercial levels is key to his being able to continue his eschatological journey.
Analyzing the title of the lineup, Michele wanted to stress the fact that it marks a new chapter for the luxury brand — one that follows the “Epilogue” unveiled in July, but at the same time creates a link with the past.
What “never ended” is his distinctive creativity. Creating a connection with this new episode of his personal Gucci saga, he celebrated his early steps, reediting iconic pieces from his men’s and women’s fall 2015 debut collections — including the red dress with the Bloom print, the faux fur coat worn with the green plissé skirt, the men’s red silk blouse enriched with a soft bow at the collar that can definitely be considered a symbol of Michele’s genderless revolution that he started five years ago.
These and many other pieces were integrated into a multifaceted lineup that reflected the coexistence of extreme differences in our society and culture, as Bonito Olivia stressed in the third episode of the series.
To highlight these cultural clashes, Michele, for example, paired the lineup’s signature oversized T-shirt with different variations of a polished, refined A-line skirt; tempered the Boho-chic look of embroidered kaftans by pairing them with loose track-inspired pants, and combined sartorial blazers and coats with cool streetwear pieces, such as sweaters, bowling shirts and collage-inspired polo shirts.
The collection’s eye-catching vintage attitude was juxtaposed with contemporary vibes. Seventies suits, Eighties mini bolero-like jackets worn with sequined high-waisted pants or lace jumpsuits, and shoes and bags enriched with bamboo and horsebit signature details stole the limelight next to fluo basketball sneakers and skateboard apparel-inspired designs.
While childlike embroideries of surreal animals by Bristol-based artist Freya Hartas, as well as patches with cats and cauliflowers, added a refreshing touch of naïveté — a pillar of Michele’s lexicon — transparencies and lingerie details introduced charming sensuality.
If Michele developed a mini-epic of storytelling to communicate his new philosophy, fashion-wise he created an encyclopedia of layers and references. His new ouverture also played a requiem for an old concept of fashion, with established rituals and mechanisms that Michele knows are no longer relevant. Fashion is certainly ephemeral, but a little of bit of eschatology can amplify its message and meaning.