Under the lights of Hollywood Boulevard, the Roosevelt Hotel and Chinese Theatre and along the famous Walk of Stars, Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele paid homage to his love of old Hollywood and the drama of cinema with a Spring Ready-To-Wear collection straight off the silver screen.
It was, to put it mildly, a lot.
Michele knows how to put on a show. And fashion, beneath all the sequins and satin, is just that – a show. An act of drama with every drape of chiffon or fold of silk.
It’s no secret that after graduating, Michele had plans on entering costume design. A love of movies had been instilled by his mother, herself a lover of film, since childhood and it’s been threading its way slowly but surely into the Gucci DNA since Michele took the top job.
This collection, at this location, on the cusp of the release of Ridley Scott’s much anticipated House of Gucci starring Lady Gaga, felt almost predestined.
Pouring out of the gateway of the Chinese Theatre, an army of cinematic tropes (115 to be exact – Michele shows no signs of slowing down or editing back) paraded before a guest list that was just as decadently dressed as the models themselves.
Honestly, it felt like a Gucci retrospective at the same time as we were viewing the current collection: Gwyneth Paltrow had donned a revamped version of the Tom Ford-for-Gucci red velvet tux she wore to the 1996 VMAs; Diane Keaton wore the new Balenciaga Gucci hack. Miley Cyrus was dripping fringe and feathers.
But back to the show…
The references to iconic fashion on film came thick and fast, with nearly every pillar of Hollywood history present: feathered gowns straight out of the boudoir of Norma Desmond. Cowboy hats, a nod to the grand Western, were worn with silk suits, softening the hypermasculine symbol according to Gucci’s androgynous codes while ingénues in calico dresses floated alongside Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra-inspired serpent gowns.
Young, would-be Montgomery Clifts and James Deans in beach-inspired shirts and loose trousers and a score of suiting for women that Katherine Hepburn would no doubt be more than happy to wear strutted down the star-studded pavement.
Peppered throughout were modern touches – monogrammed leggings and tights that will no doubt make their way onto a thousand Instagram posts in the months to come.
It was a bright frothy fantasy that, yes, matched the “what dreams are made of” myth of America, Los Angeles and making it in Hollywood but there’s a point where even glorious chaos needs some editing. Just a tiny bit.
Of course, Hollywood has always had its darker side too, and Alessandro Michele dug into this with latex and lingerie ensembles along with cheeky sex-toy inspired accessories, including a butt plug necklace and anal bead ropes. The eroticism of film or the infamous casting couch?
But more than anything, the collection was a celebration of the romance of movies – the magic of making them. A selection of songs by Bjork provided a dreamlike soundtrack that only emphasised the theatrical nature of what was on display.
And that’s ultimately what great fashion is – theatre.