by SARAH MOWER
We are in a simulacrum of a ’70s nightclub or—given the boudoir-pink velvet banquettes, mirrors, and miles of matching carpet—maybe it’s a high-class pick-up joint. A white mist imitates cigarette smoke. It feels like being in a movie set. But something is not right. “You know, when you are in love, in a nightclub, but you are not in the right place, the person is not there?” said Alessandro Michele, in a backstage preview, minutes before his strangely solemn Gucci creatures set their gigantically platformed feet on the plush pink runway. Oh: So we’re speaking of being all dressed up, yet brokenhearted at the same time?
Maybe. There was one tiered evening dress that had a giant red embroidered heart, pierced with a jeweled dagger on the front, and the numerals “XXV” above it, which is Michele’s lucky number and part of the name of his Instagram account (@lallo25). Yet Michele’s whole point is never to dwell on a single point—it’s a phantasmagoria of vintage 20th-century pop-culture references, bound up with relics of the Renaissance that he created here. One pathway to understanding this most surreal of his collections might be the fact that he met Elton John at the GQ Men of the Year awards, and he’s a fan. Hence the opening look, with its tweedy jacket and flares, and the extra-big ’70s glitter-framed shades. Florence Welch was reading the poems of William Blake on the soundtrack.