Gucci Fall-Winter 2023: A Collection Smitten with Referencing Erotic and Absurd Heritage

Under the direction of the Gucci design team, the Italian fashion house has fused the design languages of former creative directors Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele

On Friday, Gucci presented its first Women’s Ready-to-wear collection since the departure of Alessandro Michele as the creative director of the brand. This collection, as well as their FW23 Menswear showing in January, was created by the fashion house’s design team as a bridge between Michele and the incoming direction under Sabato de Sarno, who will debut his vision for Gucci this upcoming September. Under the design team, the inspiration has been found through an exploration of the genetics of Gucci as a fashion house, all of the puzzle pieces that have built the brand’s heritage. Under the instrumental from Britney Spears’ 2001 smash-hit “I’m a Slave 4 U,” the collection presented was a clear hybrid of the perversity from Tom Ford’s reign at the house and the eccentricity that was paramount to Michele’s Gucci. 

The opening look of the show was a clear statement on the erotic tones that continued throughout the show, with a model emerging out of an elevator in an itsy-bitsy metallic GG logo emblazoned bra paired with a no-nonsense black silk skirt with a slit up the back, and a pair of scrunched up leather gloves that were finished with metallic fingertips. Ford was known for the way in which he could package up sex and put it into a garment, and this sense of design was certainly referenced throughout this collection. Some tops and dresses were almost completely sheer, adding just a hint of color as they highlight either the bare body underneath or reveal strappy logo-centric lingerie. 

Contrasting pieces that almost entirely revealed the body were moments of more everyday pieces that still maintain a sense of sexuality in them. Tight-fitted jersey tops are paired with intricately embroidered pencil skirts, which are worn atop colorful fishnet tights. Low-rise and oversized sultry purple trousers are worn beneath a baby-fit yellow knit polo, while wardrobe staple looks are presented as billowing pairs of jeans that are styled with a classic trench worn over a button-down that is left open to reveal the center of the chest. These everyday manifestations of eroticism were paramount to the Ford era of Gucci, and this sense of eroticism was further toyed with by references to the oddities of Michele’s Gucci.

Strange quirks became a moniker of Gucci under the direction of Michele, and it’s quite comforting to see that some of these isms still remain after his departure. Big ol’ faux fur coats have been crafted in shocking blue, an electrifying mélange of black and yellow, and in a version that appears as though a natural fur has been dipped into a tank of lavender dye. Contorted silhouettes were shown in the form of either bustled hips or linebacker-adjacent shoulder padding, while crystalized adornments were seen in the form of dramatic choker necklaces, draped frayed brooches, and even crafted into an entire fringe overcoat. Perhaps the most Michele pieces were the massive feather hats that engulfed the models’ heads in both black and blush pink concoctions.

While the collection was certainly a mixture between both Ford and Michele’s visions of the brand, Ford-era inspiration is the most present; most explicitly seen in the re-issuing of the Gucci Horsebit clutch from his era as creative director. Maybe it’s the Britney Spears playing, but it seems that Gucci is focused on a sense of Y2K — but don’t get it twisted, this kind of early aughts referencing is not concerned with trucker hats and ironic tees. Gucci is focused on the overt sexuality that dominated this period in fashion, and it’s quite convenient that Mr. Ford was a trailblazer for said sentiment on the runway. 

All eyes are sure to be on Gucci this season, as the transitional period for one of fashion’s biggest conglomerates is guaranteed to draw massive attention, with many curious as to the new direction for the house. The collection presented for Fall shows a clear departure from the full-on cabinet of curiosities that was presented under Michele, yet does not fully abandon certain delightful bits of absurdity. This eccentricity in combination with clear references to the Ford-era of Gucci shows that an era of sensuality is sure to be on the way for the brand. By referencing the fashion house’s most pertinent directors throughout the brand’s history, Gucci has shown a collection that marvels in eroticism, captivating obscurities, and a promise for an exciting new start for the brand.

Discover More