Gucci debuted its first womenswear collection under new creative director Alessandro Michele yesterday, and many were surprised by the romantic and vintage-y feel of the clothing—as well as the fact that some of the line’s models were not women at all.
The former accessories designer seemed uninterested in maintaining the clean-cut, orderly glamour that characterized the brand’s womenswear under Frida Giannini. Ms. Giannini’s most recent collections favored bold hues and strong lines, which made the wearer look put-together and in-control. Mr. Michele’s new line, however, seems to be intended for a younger, more free-spirited woman. It is more Hannah Horvath than Carrie Bradshaw, while also bringing Wes Anderson films to mind.
The models wore geeky glasses and furry flat shoes, ranging from loafers to bedroom slippers. Colors and patterns were softer, less in-your-face, making the wearer look bookish rather than boss-like. Waistlines were less defined and the clothes could be a bit less flattering than the label’s previous fare. And the Tom Ford-era sex appeal was completely gone; even bare-breasted models were un-erotic. Perhaps most subversive of all, some of pantsuits and brightly colored blouses that recalled old Gucci most were worn by male models instead of women.
It is difficult to imagine Gucci’s typical customer embracing this loose-fitting, rumpled feel as a whole, although many of the pieces—pussy bow tops, flared skirts, G-logo belts—would fit into her wardrobe if styled differently. But then, if Gucci were interested in keeping its typical customer happy, it might not have ousted Frida Giannini after her eight years of maintaining the label’s polished air of jet set glamour. The brand’s new direction seems like an attempt to appeal to a young, wealthy gentrifier hiding out on the outskirts of a metropolis. Time will tell if this translates into higher sales.