Like fellow luxury brands Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior, Gucci chose to present its Resort 2016 Collection in a fresh new location.
The art district in Chelsea, downtown New York, was the backdrop for Alessandro Michele’s totally cohesive collection on Thursday June 4, created with an artist’s palette of the most divine shades and an eclectic melange of fabrics. This is a vintage-style with a modern urban relevance that unflinchingly looks to the future.
“There is a big story between Gucci and the United States,” Michele told Style.com at the after party at B Bar on East 4th street and the Bowery.
“So New York is a reference quite big in the company – and I wanted to start that kind of Renaissance here in New York.”
Alessandro Michele is Gucci’s new creative director chosen for his contemporary vision which Kering, the company that owns Gucci, hopes will boost sales. Michele’s debut shows were the Fall Winter 2015 menswear show in Milan back in January, followed by the womenswear in February, but has been a designer at the house since 2002 when Tom Ford was at the helm, so has been steeped in the culture of the house for more than 12 years.
Staging of the show
Under Frida Giannini, Michele’s predecessor, shows were traditionally shown in a luxurious, glamorous and sleek setting. Michele, in stark contrast, chose the warehouse-style Dia Art Foundation with its walls of exposed distressed brickwork.
The catwalk was covered in haphazardly arranged antique Moroccan rugs and black chairs were upholstered in fabric designed especially for the show. Lighting was provided by photographic style studio lights and fluorescent strips in the ceiling.
The models arrived on the catwalk straight from the street (West 22nd between 10th and 11th avenues), through the buildings open garage doors, giving a directly street-style urban edge to this artisanal collection.
On the front row were designers Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra (Michele’s colleagues at Kering), Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson, director Sam Taylor-Johnson and model Karen Elson.
Michele’s confident new aesthetic seamlessly incorporated the classic images of the house such as the iconic green and red edging; the horsebit representing the equestrian history of the brand that features on the world-famous Gucci loafer; and a new invention of the double G.
Makeup artist Pat McGrath gave models a luminous complexion using Gucci’s blushing powder in Spring Rose. Hair was centre parted and natural, accessorized occasionally with flowers and ingeniously tied signature Gucci silk scarves.
This carefully constructed hyper-natural look let the individual spirit of models shine through Gucci’s DNA, and expertly presented the versatility of the clothes to meld to one’s style completely and thus their ability to be worn for years. The pieces had a feel of favorites that have always been hanging in your wardrobe.
Michele previously headed up the brands accessories team, and this was evident in the meticulous attention to styling and accessory detail. Shoes included a new block heeled fringed pump in gold, brown, lime metallic, deep turquoise, taupe and electric violet; cross over mules in leather and satin; black and gold knee-length caged pumps embellished with black satin bows and pearls, and criss-cross laced pumps with pom-poms.
There were knitted, felt and patent berets in caramel, red, violet and emerald; bold baroque style rings worn on every finger; and earrings were simple pearl drops or long dangling chains of jewels. Contrasting bright silk corsages were worn at the neck, sometimes fastening bold black bows, and there was a new selection of must-have bags in floral print and jewel bright leather. Some models wore geeky cat eye glasses in black, tortoiseshell and embellished frames.
Graphic zig-zag patterns were mixed with floral prints, lace, chiffon and metallic satin in painterly shades of yellow ochre, china blue, vermilion, violet, lilac, rose madder, lime, chartreuse and viridian. In addition, tops, dresses and coats were appliquéd with fantastical stars, hearts, flowers, leaves, tigers, snakes and dragonflies.
Shirt dresses with ruffle edged button fastening and peter pan collars were in black and white and in violet lace. Oversized mannish suits in rose and navy with narrow lapels and deliberately iron-creased were worn with a new imagining of the Gucci loafer.
Skirt suits with three quarter length sleeve jackets were in bright yellow ochre, black boucle edged with red binding and lemon and silver brocade. There was a pale blue chiffon ruffled smock and dresses with pleated skirts in pale pink, red lace and lilac floral chiffon in diagonal patchwork or in lilac and deep purple lace.
Cowboy-style blouses – a homage to Gucci’s U.S. hosts – were in lace with violet piping and paisely in shades of vintage rose with pale blue inserts.
Chiffon ruffle dresses embodied Michele’s fresh idea of independent and confident femininity. One in chartreuse; one and perhaps the most beautiful, in viridian, lilac and china blue worn with violet satin mules; and one in deep dusky pink crinkle pleated layers with black ribbon edging and bow at waist.
Jackets and coats included caramel snakeskin and chocolate patent leather trenches; deep red patent leather over-sized motorcycle jacket worn with a box pleat skirt; and a silver bomber jacket with red and navy knitted waistband and cuffs worn with a viridian lace midi skirt.