It isn’t an Alessandro Michele Gucci runway without a dizzying display of nerdy avant garde with a few referential twists. And he delivered once again for the Resort 2018 collection, this time with a bit of a dark lens, looking to a city of the dead to host his runway show. The attendees were all transported to the Alyscamps, a Roman necropolis outside the southern French city walls.
The setting served up both ancient and haunting, in a garden of stone sarcophagi, fog settling along the ground, bells tolling in the distance, a chamber choir cantata by Monteverdi filling the air. A line of fire lit up the center of the runway, signaling the start of the show. The models that filed down the eery runway seemed less like the glam girls on pedestals we make them out to be, and more like aged widows attending grave sites, gothic devotees in somber moments of loss, ghostly haunts of the night…even a Gregorian monk-inspired layered pink habit-like dress on a model with a buzzed head. Alessandro has out-Alessandro’d himself.
But wait, the glam was still there, just packaged in a gritty vintage rocker, Iggy Pop meets Elton John (who, ironically gave a surprise performance after the show) sort of way. That full-length G-logo fur is going to be hotly pursued. I imagine that if I took acid and watched a runway show, this is what it would look like. But in the world of Gucci, it’s real life and your eyes can barely process it all.
Of course, there was plenty of well-traveled nerd to go around. I think Michele is one of the only people who has consistently gotten away with international reference vs. appropriation. His heritage helps this case. So far, I’ve only heard Americans making this argument, but I’d love to hear if others have had similar viewpoints.
As always, there is something hidden in there for everyone, and Michele’s maximalism is an exciting, horrifying, and captivating outlook. Surprisingly, there were also some pared back moments that gave the pupils a welcomed reprieve with a major bride of the dead moment to finish.