Fashion shows are often considered a huge spectacle, and this rings true for Gucci, which opened Milan Fashion Week this season. Upon entering the venue for the Italian fashion house's runway show, the guests were momentary confused—"When backstage is the main stage," Liz Uy shares in an Instagram post. Not pictured: the riveting sound of Ravel’s Boléro, a marching song in the background.
Alessandro Michele knows the fashion business all too well, and he's drawn inspiration from it for his latest show. His desire to show what goes on behind the scenes was purely intentional, with the backstage mayhem—often hidden from the viewer's eyes—now a major part of the spectacle. Mind you, the chaos that takes place right before a model is sent down the runway clocks in longer time than the entirety of a 15-minute show.
Gucci's Fall 2020 presentation started from the preparation stage. Showgoers were greeted by the models in dressing robes, who sat prettily in their makeup chairs while a frenzy of hair and makeup artists got them ready. The designer was then spotted, mingling with guests, a deviation from the usual 10-second fleeting emergence of the brand's creative helm at the end of the show.
After which, the same models ushered viewers to a revolving 360-degree-view platform. It's a literal take on fashion's merry-go-round, we dare say. The models were dressed by runway stylists, who then sent them down the catwalk in head-to-toe Gucci—everything happened right in front of their guests' eyes! "I decided to unveil what lies behind the curtains," Alessandro explained. And he did exactly that in a well-choreographed manner—not a single screaming stage director in sight! In fact, the entire dream-like sequence looked like a ritual, practiced for centuries, done in multitude of instances.
As for the clothing, Alessandro's signature irrevent style continued to prevail. Nods to the '70s and Gucci's Tom Ford days took a backseat; instead, there was an abundance of baby doll dresses and little girl uniforms. Think lace bibs, mini '60s-inspired mod frocks and skirt sets, empire-waist cuts, and ruffled gowns. Shortly after, the dainty details transitioned into kinky elements: adorned with harnesses, ripped tights, and lace lingerie.
All these deets scream nothing new in the fashion realm. We've seen these before. But that's what makes it all Gucci. For Alessandro, breaking free from the pressure of always coming up with something new is the new norm. As cyclical, repetitive, and ritualistic fashion collections and shows can be, there's beauty in its routinal direction. His eccentric looks remain to feel fresh yet comforting, a fashion feat that you can easily buy into. "We all belong to the same circus," he says, "and I really want to go on repeating this ritual."
What's trendy now might fade out later, only to come back after a few years or so. And isn't that the essence of fashion anyway? To ride along the waves of fashion, to own it with our personal creative interpretation, and to repeat it all over again? With Alessandro, we certainly believe so.