Since the appointment of Alessandro Michele as Creative Director in 2015, Gucci has returned with a BANG to the fashion landscape. He worked in the Gucci studio for 12 years, before being announced as the new creative director, when Frida Giannini was ousted in a style typical of an Italian drama. The brand was a stagnant logo heavy giant, outdated by smaller, edgier brands offering exclusivity and change.
Alessandro has reignited the brand’s desirability with his fabulous and quirky story telling collections that capture our imaginations. ‘Phantasmagoric’ – meaning fantastical, deceptive, dreamy – was the word Alessandro gave to his latest SS 2017 womenswear collection, entitled ‘Magic Lanterns’. The rich, ornate colours in faux vintage, costume style are one of the most visually engaging collections I’ve seen – the look is all about Maximalism – ruffles, jewels, rococo patterns, serpent and lion emblems and brocade, jewel encrusted glasses. A fairytale of clashes, Tarot meets Folklore and Fable. Anything goes. Everything goes!
“Michele has certainly hit his stride with his 1970s -meets -1770s maximalism.”
Lisa Armstrong, Telegraph Fashion Editor
Metallic lame, satin, ruffles, flounces, tulle, pvc tights, tapestry, chiffon, tweed, sequins, lurex, epaulettes, brocade, loafers, oversized glasses, pussy bows, floral suits, vintage brooches, turbans, capes, giant corsages, even a touch of the pearly king and queen – the key to the look is to wear as much at once as you can.
Watching the video brought to mind the eclectic eccentricities of characters in films like Napolean Dynamite and The Royal Tenenbaums or the unique style of Edith Bouverie Beale (Little Edie). What unites many of the characters is their quirky confidence to wear anything – contradictory prints and anachronistic styles; tracksuits with fur coats/ ball gowns with raincoats. They may have been driven to their resourcefulness by attitude or lack of money, but it’s the confidence and nonchalance that they carry off their ensembles with that I find enticing (I often throw together slightly bizarre looks on the school run, but unfortunately come off a bit more bag lady than style icon… )
This look takes me back to the nostalgia of my childhood days when I had a dressing up box. My box contained a variety of clothes my grandma had given me – a couple of old coats, felt hats, a fur stole, fake pearls, polyester 1970s dresses, plus some fancy dress items – a fairy dress, Cinderella outfit, a few ballet shoes, clip on earrings and huge tortoiseshell sunglasses. My sister and I used to spend hours concocting stories to act out and putting together corresponding outfits.
So how to achieve a touch of the Gucci look?
I tend to avoid the major high street looks, so I’ve had a rummage through my jewellery box and picked out a few items that I think fit in with this style. For me, this whole look is based on colour, texture and eclecticism. My starting point was a silk brocade 1950s dress that I found in a vintage shop. I think a touch of fur adds the eclectic feel – after my recent disappointment on Instagram at falling in love with a fur scarf in Maxmara, only to discover it was REAL fur (yuk!!), I found this lovely navy faux fur number on Asos for £20 (sadly sold out but check out the burgundy one below). My lovely husband bought me a Gucci bamboo handle bag a few years ago which is my pride and joy. I’ve teamed it with a vibrant silk scarf that I picked up in India and a bunch of rings that I’ve collected over time.
I love this brocade hairband by US designer Deepa Gurnani (see similar here) and my vegan granny shoes from Beyond Skin (£10 off when you sign up to their newsletter). I recently found a gorgeous embroidered clutch on Etsy by designer Spencer Ogg. Just need to add a belted wool cardigan – probably cream mohair – to soften the look, et voila, vintage chic with a hint of Gucci dressing up!
I’ve had a quick browse online and love these bits too:
J Crew Enameled Bangle (have actually ordered this as I love it so much) £48
Asos Faux Fur Collar £11 in the sale!! Bargain!
Also in the sale – Boden trousers for £29.70 (reduced from £99)
Ok so NOT a bargain…. and not in the sale sadly…. but it is gorgeous and wildly extravagant so I thought I’d feature it… Gucci Dionysus Embroidered bag £2,800.
Whatever your look is, I think we can all enjoy embracing colour and texture as the Autumn creeps up on us. Gucci has inspired me to be more creative with my outfits – and I’m delighted to have rediscovered so many things in my jewellery box and wardrobe that I haven’t worn for a while. With all these savings, maybe I’m on the road to getting another bag soon….. x