Alessandro Michele and the house of Gucci have never shied away from the obscure, but the latest collection sets a new record… at first glance. Stay with me here.
Named ‘Cyborg’, the collection was executed with models walking in pseudo-Frankenstein trances, inspired by feminist author Donna Haraway’s 1985 “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” The set was a sterile looking operating room illuminated in green and white. This, Michele explained, reflected the surgeon-like work of his creations as a designer – “cutting, assembling, and experimenting on the operating table’.
But the reference to himself was just a single sliver of a thought before moving on to (hopefully) better understand the Gucci maximalist madness. Michele talks of us all being the “Dr. Frankensteins of our lives”. And here the visuals may have been jarring with models carrying their own heads down the runway. Uh, yeah. I see the inspiration for some crazy Halloween costumes this year. And interestingly, we also saw those knitted balaclavas again like Calvin Klein show. Shaping up to be a kooky trend.
But when you parsed through it, it was this fantastic message of hope. That in today’s world of instant access to technology, social media, and yes, access to designers and even Hollywood – you can now be anything. You can identify as anything. Male, female, a combination thereof or even gender neutral. You can brand yourself or you can walk to the beat of your own drum.
You can hail, at least in dress, from the English countryside, or from the far East and the Himalayas. Appropriation? Yeah, where’s that line? Gucci doesn’t care. Gucci says it’s all welcome. Experiment. Be Dr. Frankenstein, and celebrate. Be nerdy, be playful, be you.
You can reinvent yourself, and you can do so repeatedly. You can dabble and even better, combine these identities to create this complex, unique version of you – something that Alessandro Michele has whole-heartedly encouraged since taking over the house of Gucci, pushing forth the maximalist view.