Gucci Ready To Wear Spring/Summer 2019 Paris
Alessandro Michele makes the past live in the present. You can take that as a very obvious face-value commercial fact: He’s the fashion resurrectionist who resuscitated Gucci with his stupendously successful vintage-retrieving design formula.
But there’s something more than that. When you go to his shows, you really feel shadows being spirited up. His Resort show this summer was literally a walk among the dead of the Roman Empire in the Alyscamps necropolis; seeing girls trailing long dresses past fire on that night produced some gulp-making moments.
An earlier show revealed his fascination with the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tonight, Michele took us down to another layer of history: Le Palace in Paris, the hallowed ground of a late, great ’70s and early-’80s club in an old theater in Montmartre.
People came here to meet lovers and friends . . . to experience this never-ending night. “Everything is a bit dusty here, a bit abandoned, but beautiful,” he said. “But this place is full of life. The models could have been coming to the nightclub.”
There was grainy footage of a girl having what looked like a terrible trip in a country house, all smeary eye makeup and psychotic gestures. Weirdly, there was a passage where you couldn’t tell whether Michele had inserted his own footage, so similar to Gucci did the girl’s long, sequined, balloon-sleeved dress look. No, he said: “I have only recently come to this movie.”
Weird coincidence, that. This is a designer who rummages around in the past and ends up finding himself there. The past living in the present: There is a global powerhouse of a brand built on Michele’s ability to keep magicking up that fantasia.