In Milan, Gucci closes the Michele era with minimal chic
At Gucci, the Alessandro Michele chapter seems to be closed for good. In the new men's collection for autumn-winter 2023/24, unveiled at the opening of Milan Fashion Week on Friday, there was virtually nothing left of the former creative director of seven years, who exited the brand last November after taking the Italian luxury house to new heights. Gone are the prints and the extravagance, replaced by a more linear and simple silhouette in a more rock spirit.
Everything is centred on this artisanal luxury, which appeals so much to the new high-end consumers, also widely promoted at Bottega Veneta, another label from the Kering group. The house revisited men's classics with a contemporary twist, where oversized volumes immediately gave a desirable touch to the ensemble. With a woolen cap, a simple white tee-shirt or a loose knit paired with loose, flowing trousers and a large bag slung over the shoulder like a sailor, the new Gucci man has been defined. Cool and nonchalant.
An attitude matched by the show's décor, with the trio from Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog at centre stage, improvising some jazz-rock to accompany the models live as they walked the runway lit only by halos of changing colours. Whether in knit suits, maxi coats or baggy jackets and jeans, the Gucci men walked through the space with a casual elegance, wrapped in huge metal-buttoned or gorgeous tweed coats or large, impeccably tailored flannel double-breasted jackets, dyed in a delicate palette of lavender, tangerine and sage.
The collection was enlivened by unexpected pieces, such as long skirts with slits at the front and back or trousers that open at the knee, the bottom of which can be detached, thus transforming into Bermuda shorts. The same logic was applied to a jacket, whose forearms could be removed. Not forgetting the huge workwear suits in yellow waxed canvas or black leather with a 3D effect. A sporty register also intruded into the collection through biker or dancer outfits in woolen shorts and gaiters, 1980s style, as well as tracksuits and other quilted waistcoats.
The emphasis was particularly on accessories. Starting with the bags, which were rather large, with a slightly vintage design, but again everything was very clean, playing on colour. For the shoes, Gucci presented new models of heeled shoes and soft quilted motorbike boots in a kind of musketeer style, available in all sorts of colours.
The desire to show a clear change was obvious. But it's a far cry from the earthquake triggered by Alessandro Michele at his very first show for Gucci in January 2015, exactly eight years ago. This collection seems to be a transitional one, until a new creative director is appointed and a new direction for the label's style and strategy has been defined.
According to rumours, the potential successor could already be at Gucci. Remo Macco, who has a long history with the company and who was recently appointed to the new position of studio director, is one of the names circulating, along with Davide Renne and Marco Maria Lombardi, design director for women's ready-to-wear. On the outside, the name of Daniel Roseberry, Schiaparelli's current creative director, is the one most often mentioned.
Speculation is also rife about the possible departure of Gucci's CEO Marco Bizzarri. Very chic in his mauve house suit, the manager showed his biggest smile at the time of the show next to the Kering boss, François-Henri Pinault, just as radiant, not far from a line-up of celebrities, from Nick Cave to Idris Elba. Just before the show, Marco Bizzarri said: "I am calm, happy, optimistic".
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