A brand that presents during the season of “ready-to-wear,” as opposed to that of couture, can imply different things to different people.
For Gucci‘s creative director, Alessandro Michele, it apparently means a showy collection of beading, sequins, ruffles, bishop sleeves, and headscarves — which is, to be clear, all part of one look. That makes plenty of sense as he did, per his invitations, aim to “hypnotize” (or “Guccify”) the audience.
And on Wednesday’s Gucci spring-summer 2018 runway (not the spaceships of yester-season) in Milan, flashes of Romanesque sculptures and oversize busts appeared between strobe lights and pulsing music, inundating viewers with full sensory overload. If last season’s Gucci garbs read “blind for love,” this is the literal manifestation.
It’s not clear from where Michele pulled inspiration for this season’s collection (or, perhaps more accurately, from where he didn’t pull inspiration). The set included mummies, Roman columns, and sphinxes, but the clothes featured much more: Japanese koi embellishments, Evel Knievel silks, Snow White knits, Bugs Bunny bling, and a cheeky pullover that warns Gucci’s millennial buyers to “Never Marry a Mitford” (they’ll likely have to search for the hidden meaning behind the 11th Duke of Devonshire’s slogan), all for a dizzying Mackie-meets-Michele catastrophic cosmic collision.
And that’s just the beginning of the weirdness. There were also necklaces with what resembles animal fangs, sunglasses with red tear (blood?) drops, and crystal beard bands. “Each garment vibrates with an intellectual tension that resists homologation,” the show notes read. Right.
At its best, it’s Michele’s sartorial commentary on the world’s greatest empires and disco dynasties, presented as a hodgepodge for the hoi polloi. At its worst, it’s an epilepsy-inducing showing of Blanche Devereaux‘s greatest hits on a bad acid trip.
And yet there really are some wearable pieces! For the Instagram set, there were the trending-again fanny packs, complete with Gucci logo, along with boxy check blazers, spirited orange and red windbreakers, and a vintage-print pullover. The best part? Nary a fur-lined horsebit loafer in sight.
Actress Dakota Johnson, a brand-devotee, occasionally to her own detriment, was spotted leaving the Gucci show, wearing an orange print dress and large black frames. It seems the Gucci-hypnotism hasn’t yet worn off on Johnson (nor on Jared Leto, who has nearly completed a full transfiguration into Michele himself). Who knows how much longer the rest of us will be under Lallo’s spell?
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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.