Alessandro Michele invited guests at today's Gucci SS18 show on a trip through the Ancient World with classical sculptures, fallen columns, mummies and Sphinx dotted around the show space. The set within the Gucci Hub, in Milan, explored diverse inspirations and aesthetics – the catwalk was transformed into the Tiber river while the backdrop was an early medieval structure with a double portico and three arches in Indian, Aztec and Egyptian styles punctuating the catwalk. Bubbled PVC surfaces and contemporary streetlights added a modern, cosmopolitan feel to these surroundings.
Entitled “the act of creation as an act of resistance,” the SS18 collection delved into ideas of resistance and individuality. The show notes explained: "Each garment vibrates with an intellectual tension that resists homologation. A revolt against the fixedness and for an inalienable right to difference... What is produced is a joyful hymn to self-determination. It’s the celebration of the freedom to decide about one’s own body and life. An invitation to be yourself; the only true transgression that ensures us to get closer to happiness."
Opening with a female model wearing a boxy Prince of Wales check blazer, white shirt and monogrammed pink knee-length skirt with sequinned tights and sandals, what followed was a whirlwind procession of 106 menswear and womenswear looks, covering everything from neon shell suits and puff-sleeve '80s silhouettes, leopard print coats, glittering dresses and skating costumes to tops adorned with Bugs Bunny and Snow White, sharp tailoring, Margot Tenenbaum furs and a riff on the Marlboro cigarette packet on the front of a Gucci sweater. This was creative director Alessandro Michele's now signature mish mash of colour, print, pattern and layering with a diverse blend of references. It was as maximalist and unapologetically eclectic and eccentric as ever with crystal chinstraps, Elton John album covers on tote bags, and Star Trek style eyewear. "Gucci offers a phenomenology of the dissenting spirit. A map of signs to learn to poetically live the world, going beyond its contingency and standardising monotony," the show notes explained.
The procession of over a hundred models was a dizzying feast for the eyes in under 15 minutes, so it might have been easy to miss the intricate details (both design and styling) of each look, particularly under the violet blue strobe show lighting. But as the fashion brand that has successfully reigned supreme for the past three years, Gucci has the luxury to indulge in as many looks as it pleases. "I’m trying to translate fashion in a playground that is more about the contemporary population... I’m not trying to work with a single story, but different ideas and aesthetics," Alessandro Michele explained on Instagram. There were certainly more subtle pieces for casual dressers and ostentatious show-stoppers for the die-hard fashion fans, but like it or love it, Gucci's reign shows no sign of being toppled.