HAVING taken a small break from the rigid Fashion Week schedule, Gucci made a much-anticipated return to Milan to present what is the autumn-winter 2022 collection, or what they refer to as, Exquisite.
What was initially planned to be a menswear show slowly transformed into crafting an array of womenswear, but Creative Director Alessandro Michele continues to reject any notion of defying gender codes, and inside insists it is up to the wearer to decide.
As a designer who has helped bring this conversation to the forefront of luxury fashion, and in turn pop culture, it seems apt that Exquisite is comprised of everything and anything.
Never looking at uniformity but rather at juxtapositions, fabrics are played with altering their perception by manipulating and magnifying its parts – a sort of fashion metamorphosis each season. The main shapeshifter of AW22 was the suit. Evolving from traditionalism and into the eccentric world of Gucci, tailoring had its moment.
Understanding the power and change of attitude wearing one can bring, Michele returned to the ’80s to give women the power suit once again. Think double breasted and monogrammed. Think patterned ties against baby blue shirts. Think unstoppable.
As far as accessories go, Michele aka. The King of Decadent Extra Necessities, decorated his models with big earrings, high heels and huge waist accentuating studded belts.
For men, tailoring entered the Gucci sphere in a kaleidoscope of variations. From a double breasted completely studded punk like suit, to a brown suede piece with cow printed shearling cuffs and collar, to a shirtless black velvet embroidered two piece that would make Mick Jagger drool.
The variations were Gucci through-and-through taking you from day-to-night and from one party to another – an aptly named Exquisite offering.
However, the main talk of the collection was the Adidas collaboration. This coming together isn’t exactly surprising after last year’s Gucci x Balenciaga Hack, and then the following Versace x Fendi, but what makes this partnership interesting is the morphing of the German sportswear giant with the Italian luxury Fashion house.
Using the 70s and 80s as the genesis to many of his collections, the never-ending pool of inspiration that these decades have given Michele make this collaboration a seamless next step in his narrative at Gucci.
Adidas were at the forefront of changing sportswear from average attire worn solely on the court or pitch, to making trainers cool enough to be worn day-t0-day. And with this shift occurring during the designer’s youth, the Italian wanted to emulate the sporty motifs within a sartorial narrative for AW22.
Adidas embellished corsets on evening gowns, red suit trousers with the iconic three stripes on the side and a notable crotched two-piece white-and-black loungewear set with a matching balaclava – a far from gimmicky approach to merging these two contrasting approaches to fashion, an undeniably cool array of looks.
By now, Alessandro Michele’s niche for forfeiting labels and any adherence to the confinements of fashion is not surprising nor unexpected, but his undulating colourful imagination that brings with it an exciting plethora of collaborations and variations will continue to be exciting for his audience.
Characteristically bold and playful, the message for next season is to match your Adidas sweats with your dad’s old blazer.
by Imogen Clark