Gucci Takes Maximalism to a New Level

Gucci Takes Maximalism to a New Level

Never one to shy away from a major moment, designer Alessandro Michele brought heightened drama to the runway

Never one to shy away from a major moment, designer Alessandro Michele brought heightened drama to the runway

Text: Ian David Monroe

Today, Gucci reached new levels of Gucci. That statement a week ago would've seemed impossible, and two years ago meant something completely different.

Since taking the reins of the heritage brand in early 2015, Alessandro Michele has brought new life to Gucci. Season after season, his Renaissance-inspired designs that blur the line between fashion and costumery, male and female, have been a highlight of Milan Fashion Week. Pussy bows, endless frills, massive sunglasses, and more are the focus, not the wearer. Don't expect to see any Instafamous girls tromp down the runway. This isn't about them.

For Spring 2017, Michele amped up the volume with more dramatic silhouettes and more oversized jewelry, if such things were possible. Anything he's ever been criticized for, he accentuated. To soundtrack the show, he tapped Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine), a very prominent ambassador of the brand, to read the works of William Blake, an 18th-century Romantic poet. This combination of the past and present sits at the very DNA of Gucci, and has, so far, driven the house well into the future.

The drama of the show was undeniable; such ornateness is becoming an increasing rarity in the world of fashion. Even Marc Jacobs, a man known for his elaborate presentations, simplified things this season—at least in terms of set design. The growing focus on immediate sales and accessibility has almost all but suffocated an industry that once thrived on fantasy. That reality was not lost on Michele, who via the brand's Twitter feed, remarked, "Fashion is the most beautiful illusion you can have."

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