Featured Image from Harper’s Bazaar
Ever since 2015, when Alessandro Michele challenged the boring minimalism that had taken over the runway, Gucci simply has been flourishing. People left his first show in awe of his use of maximalism solely because they actually liked it. This was a time where everything looked like Calvin Klein before Raf Simons, so nobody was expecting a newcomer like Alessandro to do what he did. This was a turning point for the brand. No one knew it yet, but Alessandro, the new creative director at the time, would be the best thing to happen to Gucci since the 90’s.
Michele, being the smart man he is, knew the appeal that lies within high fashion shoes, bags, and denim. These are investment pieces. Items the everyday person uses time and time again. As much as pop culture cherishes Harry Styles in his Gucci suits and Rihanna’s $11,000 Gucci Coachella ensemble, Alessandro is well aware that these aren’t considered typical.
I’m sure you’ve seen every fast fashion brand, style blogger, and their mother recreate the Gucci loafer. It has been a staple within the brand since 1953. The androgynous, fur-lined Gucci mules can be frequently seen within a scroll through any street style blog. That is Michele’s smart business tactics shining through. Those mules are no crystal bodysuit, but they are a trendy everyday piece that anyone can sport. The same goes for the embroidered denim from the 2015 shows. If you haven’t seen the way that trend skyrocketed, then I could also bet you enjoy a quiet life under a nice rock. Michele gave Gucci and image. He gave his designs recognizable traits that can be traced back to the brand.
The persona that Gucci has created is easily envied by other brands. You see this jealousy primarily in fast fashion brands such as Forever 21, as they are in the midst of being sued by Gucci for using similar designs. It could be argued that Gucci doesn’t have monopoly over green, blue and red stripes, but the fashion house doesn’t come to play.
I don’t think I could write an article about the recent success of Gucci without mentioning Trevor Andrews. Alessandro’s work with Trevor Andrews, Olympic snowboarder turned street artist turned fashion designer, was brilliant. The street art inspired designs helped Michele’s version of Gucci thrive even better than before. The pieces were unique and they came with a success story that the press lapped right up. This is another example of Alessandro’s perfect business tactics that deserve more credit.
When Anna Wintour presented him with the CDFA International Award in 2016, she described him as someone who thrives on clutter. One of my favorite lines from the speech she gave was “He has made the idea of starting from scratch each season seem old fashioned. Design is about new ideas, but it turns out that many people are happiest when their favorite new clothes don’t immediately become old. Alessandro saw that intrinsically.” He uses garments as a way of expression and that is what has turned him into such an influential person in the fashion industry along with his impeccable business instincts. Alessandro Michele is a true legend.