Alessandro Michele is gone. Now welcome to a new era for Gucci presenting menswear Fall 2023 in Milan.
From the first outfit — a plain pair of tan trousers with a T-shirt — it was clear Gucci is heading in a new direction and the guessing game was over. Before the show, observers wondered what kind of collection the brand would present on Friday, the first lineup without Alessandro Michele? Would the house start with a clean slate? Would it surprise with a completely new aesthetics, just as it did when the former creative director took the reins eight years ago? No to the latter question, but there were only a few signs of his tenure.
Instead, this archive-driven lineup prepared by the in-house team leaned on the designers who preceded him, from Tom Ford to Frida Giannini. Cue the crystal-embossed GG denim pants and the Piston Lock detail originally created by Ford or the sleek blazers in a pastel palette, horsebit loafers and roomy Jackie bags that harked back to Giannini’s jet-set days. A taupe ruffled chiffon blouse, checkered wool skirts with front slits or the fluffy Princetown slippers, as well as the sparkly jacket embroidered with sequined scallops were at least reminiscent of Michele’s days.
Press notes admitted there were references to Gucci’s archives, from the storied bamboo bag to the crystal GG in a lacquered interpretation of the brand’s coated monogram canvas from the 1970s, placed for example on round-toed soft ankle boots.
The notes also underscored that the design team, described as longtime members of the Gucci house and who did not come out at the end of the show, explored the concept of “improvisation,” as “an act of collaboration” and as “a constructive tool for creation” that requires finely tuned skills and knowledge. Self-expression and individualism — issues dear to Michele — were also cited as foundations of the “collection focused on the archetypes of the classic gentleman’s wardrobe.” This was exemplified by suits with detachable elements which can transformed into sleeveless jackets and shorts.
“I loved the collection, it’s something that for me went back to the elegant and old money “Gucci” that it should be, but the funny thing is that everyone misses Alessandro Michele but who really buys and wears Gucci doesn’t.”@marcosvalves._
During the men’s Fall Winter 2023 fashion show, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog performed a special musical composition echoing the charged energy of the collection.
The all-male models walked on beige carpeting around a spherical stage to a live performance by Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, playing for guests who included Idris Elba; South Korean singer and actor Kai; Percy Hynes White, and Nick Cave, among others.
Oversize coats, jackets and trousers contrasted with slim-fitting underpinnings. Somehow puzzling against the sleek trenches or floor-length sophisticated coats were the motorcycling garments that paid tribute to Gucci archival pieces from the early 2000s.
There is no doubt the team played up Gucci’s core accessories business, with a plethora of covetable bags, often in supersized versions, or the soft, quilted boots.
Ahead of the show, WWD asked buyers what they would expect from the new Gucci, and most responded hoping for a balance between commercial and fantasy pieces — after all, this is a business with sales close to 10 billion euros — but excitement and surprise were also top of mind, as fashion feeds itself on novelty.
Commercially, those prayers were answered, the collection was mainly grounded and safe — fitting with a transitional period. While Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault told WWD ahead of the show that Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri is staying put to lead the brand in the post-Alessandro Michele period, here’s to hoping he will work his magic once again and appoint a strong creative director to ensure Gucci will succeed in bringing that excitement retailers and customers alike are looking for.