Inside the Gucci gang

Spending a day in London with Alessandro Michele where he rocked Westminster Abbey with modern festival clothes

The best backstage in the world: Michele in Westminster Abbey
The best backstage in the world: Michele in Westminster Abbey

Nothing summed up the current success mode at Gucci better than the after party at 106 Piccadilly in London last night. Upstairs Annie Lennox was singing on the piano supporting Gucci’s Chime for Change initiative. Giving a shout out to Alessandro Michele, the designer came on stage and embraced Lennox. But Chime for Change was a passion of ex-designer Frida Giannini and representing Gucci’s past. While in the venue’s basement was a dance floor where the new Gucci generation was getting their groove on. This might just be the secret ingredient here. Since Michele has been in the company for a long time, he is as much comfortable with the past as he stands for the future.

Westminster Abbey has never seen a fashion show before
Westminster Abbey has never seen a fashion show before

What happened before? In the afternoon Michele presented one of his fantasy fashion romps, which take the audience on a trip. Meshing English influences from punk to Carnaby Street and New Romantics, he was at his surefire best. Let’s not forget, also Giannini used to visit 60´s London for her Gucci shows but here it’s simply so much different. Every look gives the impression that it was worked on for 100 hours. Even if things seem familiar, they are not. The silhouette might be but then Michele uses an unusual color or fabric to spin things in a new direction. In a way, he works like a master fashion DJ mixing periods and personal obsessions.

Daffy girls are what Michele loves
Daffy girls are what Michele loves

I came to London at the end of the 80´s for the first time and I immediately wanted to move here”, confessed a tired but beaming Michele backstage. „Have a look around, isn’t this the most glamorous changing room in the world“ he smiled when pointing out that Westminster Abbey had been long on his mind as a location for its charm of the hidden. And it is true; while the Abbey has had a fashion moment with Sarah Burton´s Alexander McQueen gown for the last royal wedding, it has never been used for a fashion show.

A Gucci diva hanging backstage
A Gucci diva hanging backstage

You know the way they embroider a pillow here that is what I like: this eccentricity.” Needless to say, while his catwalk had girls in tennis socks and guys in acid washed jeans and logo T-shirts, Michele was sporting tube socks himself with a black sandal and his usual score of rings and a white studded leather jacket. “To me Elizabeth the 1st is the first rock star in history.”, naming one of this collection’s key inspirations.

In Michele’s shoes
In Michele’s shoes

What struck a chord at the end of the show was the festival quality of them. Now it’s all about Glastonbury and Burning Man for the new rich jetsetters and hipsters and Gucci’s all weather hats and boots and eccentric looks can easily be imagined on festivalgoers in Ibiza, California or Brazil. They put a smile on your face and make people happy. That is probably Michele’s biggest contribution to fashion now: Fun is back.

Perfect look to shine in Glastonbury
Perfect look to shine in Glastonbury