Though the cries from Alessandro Michele devotees can be still heard, after his departure in November last year, at Gucci HQ the show still had to go on. Incoming creative director Sabato de Sarno is due to begin with the Spring 2024 collection in September and until then remains on the books at Valentino. So, for fall/winter 2023 we were delivered an in-betweener, one created by the team of Michele’s tenure.
It was homage-like in the sense that it stayed true to Michele’s vintage aesthetic, pieces eclectic and jarring, however it didn’t fall into a particular pocket of narrative or emotion that Michle’s collections always did. Throughtout, there were moments of 90s rave-club, moments of a feather-coated Margot Tenenbaum and even moments of (I guess ironic) classicism with the use side-hooped pannier skirts. It also included at least two Slimane-esque ensembles dedicated to pre-millenia jeans worn with a white shirt and and oversized jacket.
The midi skirts worn with mesh tube tops and lilac stockings as well as the long, double-breasted blazers worn over split-ankle trousers were all familiar looks from previous collections, as were the plentiful bralettes and the unsparing use of fluffy Yeti shoes. Evening wear was a dip into fashion era archives, yet, it didn’t pick just one. A ping-ponging timeline from romanticism to flapper to eighties prom made finding cohesion all the more difficult. Bags were bigger, more practical and there was a disctint featuring of GG insignia leather belts that, when hot, are unstoppably popular. Novelty mohair and faux-fur coats in shades of Cookie Monster again saluted Michele, its ilk probably due to be big sellers this winter season.
There has been a lot of talk about the return to wearability this season. That collections have been less of an artistic spectacle and more a latest in nice clothes. Perhaps this has to do with the bottom line, or perhaps it’s a just trend like anything else – a kind of ironic-irony where a return to basics in itself becomes anti-basic. It’s hard to keep up.
However, its unlikely Gucci was deviating to an intentional turn towards practicality. Perhaps this was more a case of keeping it all together until the next leader arrives. It will be interesting to see where de Sarno takes the label, a few steps back from Michele’s archival patchwork style might be just what the doctor ordered. An order for a new time, a new artist, a new look. We’re ready.
This article originally appeared on GRAZIA AU