If the burning question as Milan Fashion Week hit was 'where will Gucci go next?' – then Alessandro Michele certainly knows by now not only how to court that enigma, but moreover how to present a collection that transcends all forecast or predictability, coaching us in one thing only, and that’s to brace for impact. With previous form in everything from retro Sci-Fi to regal Brit Pop and all that occupies the in-between, upside-down and back-to-front of the Gucci Universe, Autumn/Winter 2018 was, of course, a wildly different story; yet no less a reflection of the pure alchemy and mad-genius scientist at the helm of this storied house.
Set in a suite of coldly unsettling operating theatres, show-goers were seated in what felt like a viewing space to witness the surgical procedures to follow. And, with clinical precision, the collection– entitled 'Cyborg' – pulled no punches from the get-go, opening with one of the most disarming moments of the show, as a model nonchalantly carried a hyper-realistic replica of her own head under one arm (an event later echoed with a male model to equally iPhone-flashing effect). With signature flair, the theatrics were certainly not sparing – from a replica baby dragon à la Game Of Thrones to snakes, an iguana, horns and even a third eye – but somehow all these constituents had their place in the tapestry of Gucci. A riot of motifs, from Westworld-cyborg utopian visions through to esoteric elements and Hinduism, all sutured together with Dr. Frankenstein panache, this was a collection that defied boundaries and binaries, fluid in its borrowing from different cultures, times and realities.
Ceremony and prosthetics aside, in true Gucci style, each look contained utterly covetable and no doubt resoundingly shoppable pieces from end to end – think spangled showgirl frocks to retro folk and prairie dresses, layers upon layers in a mash-up of textures, tweeds and heritage fabrics, opulent florals, head-gear – turbans, scarves and balaclavas – and logo plays from Major League Baseball and Paramount through to Russ Meyer’s cult hit Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill. A wild ride into the Michele mindscape, expect flashbacks aplenty in the months to come as this is a collection that will gain even more momentum when stepping out into the real world.