Sometimes it's hard to believe that it has been five years since Alessandro Michele's surprise appointment at Gucci; it feels like he has been at the fashion house for much longer. Michele's work and success at Gucci, has in parts, opened doors for designers to take risks and push boundaries. And more admirably, it's proof that art and commerce can meld together wonderfully.
For the Gucci men's autumn/winter 2020 collection show notes, Michele talked about the need to destroy the narrow definition of masculinity. Gender identity has always been a big part of his work, and his latest collection was a subtle throwback to his very first one for the house. The idea was never about forcing dresses on to men, but rather, it's about celebrating the freedom to choose your own expression of masculinity. Gucci's autumn/winter 2020 menswear collection is a more innocent expression of the idea yet—harkening back to the days of childhood when things were seen through untainted eyes, and where experimenting was less frowned upon.
Michele began the collection with the reworking of proportions—shrunken tailoring, crop tops, beautiful chunky knitwear and babydoll dresses reimagined as coats. It was a similar idea that he proposed for his first collection (that was designed in five days) but executed more simply.
The current collection five years on, was more nuanced and expressive, as he incorporated a kaleidoscope of fabrics and narratives into the garments. At the same time, there's a sense of nostalgia through the introduction of leopard print coats, chunky knits, cropped tops and dress, all worn over low-cut jeans; as an homage to the personal style of the late Kurt Cobain. The collection also featured pieces and accessories made in collaboration with fabric mill, Liberty London—a fun nod to the idea of freedom that he was trying to channel in the autumn/winter 2020 collection.
Five years on, Michele seems to be getting sharper and more focused season after season. If the first five years were an introduction to the range of his design vocabulary, we are now beginning to witness a new ere where he hones in on specific elements and expands on them. As good as Michele has been, we think the best years of Gucci are still ahead of us.