Gucci Spring 2017 transits through time, imagination and fantasies

Only the current darling of the fashion industry can mesmerise with a dazzling amalgamation of allusions. Alessandro Michele creates characters of an unknown fictional historical fairytale – whimsy, fascinating figures that can be plucked from different eras of history or pages of a book, then mashed with another. The collection is a display of mental escapism, the results of a mind gone wild.


ichele’s design idiosyncrasies continue on from previous collections, from pussy-bow blouses, pleats, an abundance of satin, slippers, with a touch of nerd. Only there is the addition of regal uniforms such as kimonos and Napoleonic captain’s jacket and the ever ubiquitous presence of Donald Duck, serpents, frilly collars and cuffs. Adorable and endearing, although conventionally unattractive — which is the appeal of Gucci under Michele, an aesthetic that is tried and true.

The sea-faring Donald Duck, as Michele explains backstage after the show, was a childhood literary figure for the designer. Which could explain the presence of related travel and nautical themes, including the crab, octopus and fish carried throughout the collection. No doubt they will be a hit with avid Gucci fans, as much as the serpents, lions and thunderbolts were of seasons before. The almost garish motifs are like the DIY appliques one would find from the previous decade from an arts and crafts store, but super alluring and ultra desirable.

In one bomber jacket, ancient deity Serapis is featured in Greek orthography, above the iconic duck. Donald Duck and Ancient Greek god Serapis are invented characters of a revered status. The whole collection itself appears to create its own invented characters, from safari adventurers to nerdy schoolboys to Asiatic royalty. It is as if they are personas jumping off pages of both a history and fairytale book, each with their own story to tell.

In order to shroud some confusion, or at least insert some system to the harmonious disarray, I have characterised these Gucci personas into categories, each belonging to a particular theme. They are, and not limited to (and contain sub-genres of their own):

The U.S Ivy League student/rebel

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The nerdy schoolboy, or the really unattractive

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Safari explorer that has wondered off to the east

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Lush pyjama opulence

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Historical fairytale character (involving pirates, captains, damsels)

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Donald Duck

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Dinner suit

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Asiatic royalty

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Could it be, that a young boy, wearing knee-high socks, of course, with an affection for Donald Duck, read a book about the histories of travel? That when he flicked through the pages the stories lead him on a journey around the world, starting somewhere familiar with flower wallpapered rooms, where men were adorned with silk suits and women with lace? From there, captains wearing Napoleonic jackets could have accompanied the exploring protagonist onto a quest for the east, where they happened across some pirates and sea creatures, and eventually are greeted by Asian princes and princesses at their destination?