In those rare moments when I’m not working, I ponder the meaning of life and other key questions of our age. One of the questions that occasionally pops into my mind is how will Alessandro Michele survive if the fashion pendulum swings back towards minimalism?
After all, I can’t really ever see him celebrating the purity of a simple white shirt or the clinical starkness of a pair of unembellished black pants or navy blue techno fabric messenger bag, can you?
That question was very much on my mind as I watched the video stream for the Gucci Cruise 2018 show on Monday. With every pearl-encrusted balaclava, floral clash, rose-print cardigan, butterfly buckle belt, metallic red carpet gown and frilled and fur-trimmed jacket passing by, I wondered even more.
Does a future churning out mother-of-the-bride looks for a mid-market label in Rome beckon? Probably not. Even apart from the millions he’s raking in at present, Michele probably has a few more tricks up his sleeve than he’s shown us so far.
For now though, we’re still essentially getting the look he gave us at his Gucci frontman debut back in January 2015. Geeky embellished cross-dressing mixing grandma-vintage with decadent athleisure, plus a touch of wild red carpet and subverted business-wear thrown in.
Not that he needs to worry about what to do next just yet. The fashion pendulum is nowhere near to swinging in the opposite direction and these looks are still flying off the shelves in Gucci stores globally.
So we have a signature style that frequently repeats itself from collection to collection. No criticism here, mind, as at least it means a big investment in one season’s style isn’t going to look completely out of step the next season.
But what were the trends this time? What were those ideas that those of us without a trust fund might be flirting with at Topshop, Zara or River Island a few months down the line?
Coatigan: Gucci has some truly desirable cardigans-as-outerwear from elongated varsity cardies to styles that owe their origin to the 20th century cardigan jacket. What’s key here though is the Gucci decorative touch.
Quilted coats: The wide quilted coat or jacket is a star piece for Michele and his team and should filter through to the high street. What’s key for this pre-season? Rich fabrics (satin or velvet) with contrasts edges or fur cuffs.
Power florals: The richness of the Raj blends with western historic influences for some unmissable prints, while elsewhere we see exuberant florals on richly coloured grounds or 50s-style roses. Just pick your flower and go.
Embellished basics: Michele continues to dress up the everyday with options ranging from embellished athleisure through to the embroidered lumberjack shirt. The varsity cardigan even goes second Empire with embellished rope twist edging.
Heads-up: That pearl balaclava may never make it into stores but decorative gilt headbands, 20s-inspired skull caps (think Mia Farrow in The Great Gatsby), turbans and even quirky fascinators mean Michele’s accessories background is to the fore this pre-season.
Logo love affair: Michele puts the Gucci logo front and centre of this collection with the allover print appearing on coats, capes and even statement hosiery as well as the more usual bags.
Decorative casuals: Choose from allover floral khakis or embellished jeans and denim shorts. But do take note – that denim decoration is more low key than recent seasons. Is Michele stepping back from the current dominant embellished denim trend he helped to kick off?
Colour contrast: Play games with colour and be bold. Think power pink with green or orange, or allover lace in lilac mixed with rust and leaf green.
Power print and pattern: Whether it’s the new Gucci (or Guccy) teddy bear, the monotone stylised wild animal prints, stinging nettles creeping across boyfriend jeans, retro tapestry patterns or signature trompe l’oeil, Michele confirms that print and pattern continues to drive his creativity.
Don’t diss the details: Fur cuffs, T-bar shoes, bow trims, contrast panels in bomber jackets, satin sash belts, plus butterfly, tassel, rope twist and lyre detailing all continue the Michele more-is-more tradition.