Alessandro Michele has out-Michele’d himself for the Gucci pre-fall 2017 collection with a riot of decoration, geeky touches, accessory ideas and much more. But is there anything for the wider industry to plunder in the months ahead or is it just more of the same?
Well, yes and yes. It’s become very clear in recent seasons that Michele has a style and he’s not going to change it radically any time soon. It’s too successful at retail even if he did suddenly get the urge to go all minimalist (as if).
That means the tiers and the snakes and the cats and the faux conservative pieces and the embellishment and the quirky updates on Gucci signatures will stay.
But there’s also subtle evolution each season, which is, perhaps, how fashion should be. It reflects the slowness of the underlying trend cycle and also allows people who’ve bought into the look to avoid having to list their entire wardrobe on Vestiaire Collective every few seasons.
Here are the 10 features of the collection that I think really count from the latest Gucci offer.
1 Belt bags vs mega bags: The mini bag is a key ongoing trend and an NPD report yesterday said it’s what’s driving the handbag market at the moment. Michele’s got a few of them but more notably, he’s gone for belt bags as his contribution to the mini bag trend. His belt bags (and no, I can’t bring myself to call them bum bags or fanny packs) are conservative and practical and should be a strong seller for those who want to ride the Gucci wave but feel a bit overwhelmed by some of his ideas. The alternative to mini is the giant structured handbag. This isn’t like the mega totes of a few years back. Instead it’s a scaled-up handbag with room for a complete change of clothes. I’m not so convinced by these as they look heavy and uncomfortable to carry but I’m sure they’ll inspire plenty of Gucci fans.
2 Embellished boots: We’ve already seen a good selection of embellished boots from labels such as Altuzarra and Alice & Olivia for pre-fall but with Gucci backing the trend, it’s more likely to go mainstream. But how mainstream can it get? Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana have been big on decorative boots for quite a while and they’ve not tipped over into a universal acceptance. But Gucci’s an even bigger influencer than both those labels at present so who knows?
3 Tiered skirts and dresses: There’s a definite trend towards floaty, languid tiers of printed silk for pre-fall. It may be surprising for a collection that has the word ‘fall’ in its name, but maybe less so when you consider that it drops in-store at the height of summer. Here (and in a number of other collections) it’s maxi length that rules, but think shorter and more practical for the high street.
4 OK, prepare yourself for this one – stirrup pants: You either love them or hate them and most people seem to hate them (especially as they’re usually too long for those of us who are below 5ft 6 and too short for those of us who are over 5ft 6). But Michele has spoken and his stirrup pants have sports roots, falling somewhere between a legging and a track pant. With the sidestripe pant having been hugely popular recently, is this the next step in that trend?
5 Allover florals: Pre-fall is blossoming all over and head-to-toe florals are a key trend. Keep the backgrounds rich or dark and the blooms distinctive rather than abstract. Mixed florals take the print story to extremes – it may be too much for some but it’s the way to go. Also, use floral in unexpected places like on your latest athleisure offer (I suppose it beats all those gym-ready paint splatter prints).
6 Bows and bow motifs: Bow trims at collars, on blouse or dress fronts and as allover prints make the bow a key details for pre-fall. Take it to luxe extremes for evening footwear as a diamanté add-on to casually smart mules.
7 Capes: Michele is a cape fan and regularly includes them in his collections but there’s more than one this time. It may not mean they’ll be seen on every high street but it underscores the ongoing appeal of capes for high-end labels as they use them to demonstrate their print and pattern expertise.
8 Coloured hosiery: I’ve been banging on about coloured or decorative hosiery for several years now but it still doesn’t seem to have hit the mainstream. Will this (pre-)season be any different? Michele is big on colour allover so perhaps this is finally coloured hosiery’s time to shine.
9 Which brings me on to colour: Michele uses a rich palette of rainbow brights but they have the kind of depth that makes sure you know this is pre-fall rather than the citrus-driven zinginess they might have had for spring/summer. Think jewel tones (especially the Pantone-backed green that seems to have replaced the previously-high-flying blues), often used in rainbow combinations.
10 Double G logos: Brand logo prints have been out of favour for a while but Michele is backing them for the expected boots and bags as well as the more unexpected hosiery. The double G also appears as a trim for classic shoes styles.