January 2015: Gucci's parent company announces that designer Alessandro Michele would take over the creative direction of Gucci, giving him "total creative responsibility for all of Gucci's collections and brand image."
Immediately following (or it seems): The fashion world falls all over itself not just to praise the new direction for the brand, but to follow it – quickly. Everywhere you turned, you noticed Michele's influence: the odd color combos, the '70s aesthetic, and embellishments (patches, pins and doodads worthy of a super-premium scrapbooking sesh at Michael's) – everywhere.
Fashion nerds will remember Gucci's last big cultural hurrah, under the rein of Tom Ford, who took the brand into one of the most envelope-pushing periods we've seen in the last 20 years. For Ford, it was sleek sex appeal that did the trick.
For Michele, it is a retro (but modern/futuristic?) hybrid... Disco meets DIY. Maximalism, where anything goes and more is more. Decidedly unsexy. Almost ugly (like a trick from the Prada playbook). Intriguing. Not for the faint of heart. I would say that it's not for wallflowers, but it's actually the sort of look a kooky, shy, dancing-to-the-beat-of-their-own-drum "wallflower" would look great in.
Of course, it was just the thing we needed, once we'd very nicely Marie Kondo'd our closets and gotten everything organized: here comes someone to blow it all up again and – this is the fun part – get us thinking or dreaming of new possibilities again.
Ain't fashion grand?
There's absolutely no reason for me, personally, to enjoy or desire the kooky Gucci styles. My closet, especially after moving to New York last year, is a tightly edited collection of blues, grays, whites and blacks. It's practical. Very functional. But on some days, boring AF.
That's why I can't stop thinking about these crazy things from Gucci, as spotted up close at the store on 5th Ave, where I did my best to scramble for the price tag (but surreptitiously, like the price didn't matter) just to shock myself that people pay $3750 for a bomber jacket (or approximately $1000 each for the shoes and bag). People LIVE like this? (That's another conversation for another day).
The jacket itself felt beautiful though. A cross between your old, loveworn varsity jacket and one of your grandma's embroidered pillows – both are scenarios that conjure relatively good memories. But $3750 worth of memories...?
There but for the grace of Gucci go I.