More-is-more no more. For Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, Alessandro Michele traded in his maximalist sensibilities for an unexpectedly wearable range of silhouettes ripe with streamlined sex appeal pivoting on ‘70s-meets-’90s tailoring.
This season, guests found themselves in a clinically-white room where clean lines and harsh fluorescent lighting framed long travelators that stretched from one end to the other. The room flashed a sinister shade of red before the first wave of models emerged from corrugated metal gates — 60 of them, clad in variations of white straitjackets (not to be sold), standing motionlessly on the moving walkway. This prologue to the collection was accompanied by essay-length show notes touching on “uniforms, utilitarian clothes, the normative dress dictated by society and those who control it” and their tendency to eliminate self-expression and curb identity.
Indeed, Michele’s tact for creating eye-grabbing pieces defied conventional dress codes with a new “ugly chic” uniform that saturated the fashion tribes. “I’m afraid of getting bored,” said the creative director after the show. “I always have to try something new.”
New for Michele meant fewer loud prints and more refined tailoring. The show opened with a series of lean silhouettes that shifted between all-black looks and clean colour-blocked palettes. There were nods to Tom Ford’s Gucci era with the slinky evening dresses and high-slit midi skirts, as well as the polished suiting with labels on the hems reading “Gucci Orgamique” — the title of the collection. Prints were more approachable, appearing as coordinated suiting or mix-and-matched with a maximum of two traditional patterns such as checker print and vintage florals. Remnants of Michele’s sartorial kink appeared as sheer panels, plunging lace trims and traces of S&M leather, but there were none of the crystal-decked, metal-studded masks of past seasons. Instead, glossy leather gloves, vinyl chokers, and Edna Mode-sized frames with matching chains that struck with pared-back elegance.