Gucci channels Elton John for its Milan fashion week show

  • Heidegger’s thoughts on authenticity, Camus’ writings on the nature of rebellion, 17th-century cartography and the stage wear of Elton John – the catwalk show that opened Milan fashion week did not follow a formula smacking of obvious commercial success. But this is Gucci, where the designer Alessandro Michele’s avant-garde approach to luxury has confounded the industry.

    A model walks the runway at the Gucci show during Milan fashion week

    image: Evening Dresses 2018

    The fashion house’s financial results, released this summer, showed a phenomenal 43.4% sales growth. Even more striking is that Gucci, whose catwalk set mapped the Roman site of Horace’s Villa and whose show notes touched on post-structuralism, is adored by a younger generation most fellow heritage brands struggle to connect with: half of all Gucci customers were born after 1980.

    Diversity and authenticity are recurrent themes. “I am trying to push the idea of fashion, and to destroy the old codes of fashion,” said Michele, who was wearing a heavily embroidered jacket that an hour later featured on the catwalk worn by a female model.

    “Fashion is trying to keep alive codes which are from the age of the New Look, of Mr Dior. The old way of thinking that goes, ‘the new season is blue’ or ‘the new ballerina look’, I am not interested in that. And when the casting people say to me about a model, ‘she is beautiful, she is a new face, she has beautiful legs’ – I don’t care about that at all. I care about the way the girl is romantic, the way she sees the world, not that she looks a certain way. I want to tell stories so I think in a cinematic way.”

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