Gucci has been helmed by a host of esteemed creative directors, from Tom Ford, who brought sex and glitz to the brand, to John Ray, now at Alfred Dunhill, and Frida Giannini, who left the label last year. The latest design chief is Alessandro Michele, and his vision is perhaps the most beguiling of all.
Michele’s first collection for the 94-year-old Florentine brand was autumn/winter 2016, shown in Milan in January. Questioning traditional notions of masculinity, not only were a number of women’s looks shown alongside the men’s – a feature of many major shows nowadays – but garments traditionally worn by women were sported by the men (and vice versa).
Floaty shirts with pie-crust collars and bows were worn with more traditional duffel and military greatcoats in bright block shades. Fizzing with youthful energy, the show felt romantic and ethereal. Slouchy wide-legged trousers in blues, blacks and greens looked wearable, while the kangaroo fur-lined Gucci mules, inspired by the brand’s instantly recognisable horsebit loafer, made for a playful, winter-friendly accessory.
Michele’s clothes represent a big shift in menswear, one being mirrored elsewhere: from Prada, where androgyny is key, to Hedi Slimane’s permanent unisex line for Saint Laurent Paris. Men are not confined to a sober wardrobe of suits, shirts and ties. Sure, these items retain their place but now – in part due to Michele – if we want to push the boat out a bit, we can.