Alessandro Michele, with his peerless ability to animate pop cultural antiquity, mounted another extraordinary interpretation of Gucciland


 What Alessandro Michele loves about the Chateau Marmont in LA is that someone in Hollywood’s shaded past was so obsessed by the notion of a French chateau that he saw fit to duplicate it on Sunset Boulevard. Picture the silent movie stars spinning down the dirt road that Sunset was in those days in their fabulous Hispano Souza limos. Michele does. At Gucci.

At the same time, Michele is an old European soul, old enough that he showed his cruise collection in a necropolis in Arles, in the South of France. With thousands of dead souls simmering below the fog-shrouded venue’s surface, he mounted another of his extraordinary interpretations of Gucciland.

And maybe the presence of the dead wasn’t such an off-piste idea. It’s not exactly like Michele is a necrophile, it’s just that he has a peerless ability to animate pop cultural antiquity. Did you ever imagine a Chateau Marmont laundry bag would become le dernier criin arm candy? OK, get ready.

If you so chose, you could distill this collection into the bits and pieces that boys and girls will slavishly fall upon in their local Gucci store.

A certain footwear interest, excitement below the waist, veils and trains for maximum drama. At this point, it seems irrelevant to judge what Michele does in terms of a conventional collection breakdown. So maybe there was a gorgeous floral puffa jacket. Or a camel coat with a tracery of glitter. Or sequins encrusting everything. This is how Michele transfigures the familiar in a way that absorbs a fashion-hungry clientele. And then the commercial stuff that follows — the trainers, the leggings, the backpacks — takes on an eerie, irresistible gloss.

But, because I’m reviewing a show, it feels right to mention the guy trailing a Brideshead teddy, or all the models clutching bouquets of dead flowers. We were in an ancient Roman burial ground, after all. We can only love Alessandro Michele for his peerless ability to transport us to places of darkness and places of joy: a fake chateau with a legendary heritage.

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