Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Gucci At Westminster Abbey

"The idea of the show is an homage to the city, because I love English people," said Alessandro Michele, who presented his Gucci pre-spring/summer 2017 collection here in London today, at Westminster Abbey through the enclaves of the the 13th Century cloisters - not surprisingly, it's the first time the Gothic church has staged a fashion show.

"I chose Westminster Abbey because everyone has this idea of London being cool, but for me the history is what's really cool." The designer tapped the English eccentric, a character that seems to go hand-in-hand with his kaleidoscopic vision of Gucci and she was out in force this afternoon. Brits including Erin O'Connor and Jacquetta Wheeler strolled through the arches of the Abbey wearing what looked like prize finds from Portobello Market or otherwise a kooky aunt's attic.

There were silk headscarves, heritage tartans and quilted outdoorsy jackets, the sort of get up that Her Majesty might wear at Balmoral. It was a smorgasbord of colour and frivolity, and felt British through and through; his references skipped from Victoriana to punk and even extended to Union Jack sweaters. And more.

Oddball layered and loaded looks comprised oversized denim jackets appliquéd with badges, turn-up jeans splattered in bleach, scarf print silks, frilly bib-fronted A-line dresses, gold straw boaters, brocade suiting, and stripy rainbow knits appliquéd with a cat's face. The same cat face appeared on tasseled green velvet cushions, which lined the pews - others were embroidered in more Michele emblems, like a cartoonish black panther and a coiled snake, jaunty souvenirs that showgoers delighted in taking home.

There was more of a Nineties streetwear vibe this season best played out via a huge white hooded sweatshirt (think Vetements-scale) and baggy T-shirts emblazoned with the Gucci typography, they looked like cheap knock-offs from Brick Lane, so too giant GG belts, which were so shouty they also looked counterfeit - in a good way - while silk and lace ruffled gowns were topped with baseball caps.

Amongst all the ad hoc/pile-it-on spirit of these looks, these truly aren't pieces you'd ever be lucky enough to stumble upon at a flea market - however lovely that idea is. The craftsmanship of those mink coats are simply standout; in particular, a caramel-coloured mink with red and black snakes slithering up from the hemline, others with life size peacocks or with intarsia pansies. "Fashion is not about product, it's about an amazing idea that you try to understand. It's about something that you fall in love with and you can't resist buying. I think the market is really ready for something different," Michele said. "Fashion is about clothes and colours - it's not serious; I'm not serious. I try to have fun always." And so will his legions of new gen Gucci fans grappling for their very own piece of this.

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