Wednesday 16 August 2017

After years of minimalism, Gucci's bonkers look makes fabulous fashion (and commercial) sense

All new twists and turns: Gucci's Cruise collection
All new twists and turns: Gucci's Cruise collection
Saoirse Ronan

Meadhbh McGrath

What do Harry Styles, Melania Trump and Saoirse Ronan have in common?

They have all, like the rest of the fashion world, fallen for Gucci's golden boy, Alessandro Michele. With his flowing hair, heavy beard and pouting lips, he looks like he's just stepped out of a stained-glass window, and the Renaissance man has overhauled both the luxury brand and the current fashion landscape in one fell swoop.

Since being promoted to creative director of the iconic fashion house in 2015, his influence has been startling. We have Michele to thank for the multihued abundance of satin bomber jackets, oversized logos and mule slippers that have filtered down from his gender-fluid runways to the high street and the 16 bus - not to mention Melania's infamous fuschia pussybow blouse at the second presidential debate.

Two years after taking the reins at the brand, the Gucci boom continues to this day: the company posted record revenue growth of 51pc for the first quarter of the year, and earlier this week, revealed its Cruise collection, which was, as expected, a feast for the eyes.

Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan

Held in the sumptuous surroundings of Florence's Palazzo Pitty, models showcased ironic logos (among them 'Guccy' and 'Guccify Yourself'), pearl headdresses, floor-length gowns and extravagant bumbags (yes, such a thing does exist). But what mere mortal can pull off these dreamy dress-up box treasures?

Only the bravest among us could swap our sensible navy shift dresses for head-to-toe furs, glitter and rainbow brights in one of Michele's technicolour creations.

It seems we've lost our edge after years spent happily coasting along on the uniform of understated minimalism developed by Phoebe Philo at Céline.

That look - typically, a well-cut shirt and chic slouchy trousers in neutral tones - was designed to not make a statement: it's quiet, it's logo-less, it's basically invisible.

It peaked with 'normcore', the anonymous style of dressing that saw 'mom jeans', sweatshirts and New Balance trainers elevated to the height of fashion.

Now that athleisure reigns supreme and leggings have firmly crossed over to acceptable daywear, Michele extends his bedazzled cuffs to offer us a gleaming, maximalist alternative.

And, after the era of minimalism, we've been so starved of eccentricity that we're grabbing hold of this slightly bonkers look with both lavishly jewelled hands.

We don't always get it right (Kellyanne Conway's madcap Paddington Bear getup at Trump's inauguration - an alarmingly patriotic coat dress, replete with red gloves and a giddy cloche hat - comes to mind), but for a lesson in Gucci excellence, look no further than our own Saoirse Ronan.

The Carlow native stole the show at the brand's Cruise presentation with newly-dyed platinum waves and a metallic minidress, paired with slip-on heels. The Oscar-nominated actress had an impressive red carpet run last year, but she's really proved her fashion mettle as a Gucci girl.

It's romantic without being frou-frou, flamboyant yet accessible, and it's how we want to dress all summer long. So we have Gucci to thank for bringing back a feeling that's been mysteriously absent in much recent fashion: fun.

Irish Independent

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