After almost two years of marching to its own beat—which has thus far produced some of the house's most sought-after collaborations—Gucci returned to Milan Fashion Week and the age-old game of fashion seasonality. That's right, Exquisite Gucci (as the show and collection was called) was effectively Gucci's autumn/winter 2022 collection.
But that's not the only thing that came off as a surprise to fashion media as well as fans of the house. First revealed during a pre-show interview with Business of Fashion's Tim Blanks, Exquisite Gucci was in fact a menswear show—this despite it being a typically womenswear show season. "I don't want to say to break the rules because it's nothing really specific, but I was thinking it was just a good moment to open the conversation about men in a moment when the industry and the audience usually see another kind of show," Michele revealed.
In essence, Exquisite Gucci did feel like a largely menswear-centric show, sprinkled with a few womenswear looks in between. But Michele's point was that there really isn't a need to pinpoint a collection to mere gender constructs. And while he cautiously rejects the term 'fluidity', the man that has helped pave the way for that conversation in fashion certainly proved that there's no reason why a men's collection cannot be shown during a typically women's show season. It's perhaps an act of rebellion yet one that feels totally on brand for Michele.
Another (somewhat) surprising element of Gucci's autumn/winter 2022 collection? The confirmation of a collaboration with adidas, something that had been bubbling around months ago. As with the hacking of Balenciaga icons during Gucci Aria, the autumn/winter 2022 collection started off subtle with look 2's blue leather boots decorated with the brand's iconic three stripes along the outer. And then from then on, it was a full execution of three-striped everything merged with Gucci house codes and emblems.
Look and feel: If you were thinking that a Gucci x adidas collaboration would mean tracksuits and sportswear favourites, you'd be sorely mistaken. The autumn/winter 2022 collection was tailoring heavy (probably the most we've seen in a Michele collection for Gucci thus far) with the adidas Trefoil logo and stripes used as decoration on accessories and suiting. The three stripes especially, gave the illusion that tailored trousers resembled those iconic adidas trackpants that were quite a fixture in the '90s.
But of course, in true Michele form, there was nary anything typical about his tailoring offerings. The looks ranged from classic Michele cuts that recalled his very first Gucci collection, to lapel-less double-breasted suit blazers to wide, cropped blazers fitted with power shoulders. It was a tour de force of new tailoring and for me at least, seemed more exciting than the adidas collaboration.
Favourite looks: Having said that, I do fancy some of the adidas-laden looks myself. Look 4's subtle branding (especially in that multi-coloured polo) and the more obvious monogram trousers with three-stripes running along the sides, felt smarter in execution than most of the other Gucci x adidas pieces. Look 49's striped lurex suiting worn with adidas-embellished cap and sneakers too felt less forced and a beautiful marriage of both icons.
For something ridiculously out-there (but wonderfully styled), look 21's hard-to-miss boilersuit designed with exaggerated shoulders and matched with fingerless gloves was a definite highlight. But a more practical favourite would be the cropped jacket offerings as seen on looks 55 and 78. Both were cut deliciously wide and paired with leather trousers, with 78's jacket affixed with a blown-up bow for an extra extra flair.
Favourite accessories: We need to talk about the supersized Gucci Diana Bamboo bags that came in a variety of treatments. Featuring those iconic Gucci bamboo top handles, the totes were bigger than ever before and looked to be fitted with an adjustable leather shoulder strap (that also came in a range of embellishments and treatments). I wonder how practical one would be but they were really stunning to look at. There's even an adidas collaboration version (look 28) that sported both the Trefoil and the three stripes.
And there's no doubt that the fingerless gloves as well as the skullcaps would easily be the first few pieces to go once the collection rolls out in boutiques. They'd be pretty easy to style with just about anything, and not to mention, probably the more affordable pieces from the collaboration.