A ticking time bomb clock for an invitation, an operating theatre runway housed at an airport hangar (that's Gucci Hub headquarters near Linate in MIlan) and models that make the Addams Family look basic and ordinary – this is the world of Gucci's Cyborg manifesto.
Around 2000 invited guests and VIPs attended the show, the front row reserved for top tier clients flown in from around the world, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, musicians such Lou Doillon, Nick Cave and prerequisite rising stars like Netflix series The End of the F*****g World actor Earl Cave – who is, incidentally, also Nick's son.
What's evident at a Gucci show, when the carnival of models aren't chewing up your attention, is the abundance of cashed up clients (mostly from Asia) who are flown to Milan to solely to see these shows. These VIPs get first looks in the showroom the following morning to see the collection up close and personal and start ordering garments. A wealthy Japanese couple sat front row causing a social media storm cling to Gucci's every desirable thread, shiny beadwork and tailored chaos – they're delighting in the pre show snaps being taken of them.
Second, is the saturated presence of the brand - on and off the runway. Gucci's hold over it's followers sees attendees head to toe in the brand, regardless of gender. Men start with the sneakers and finish with studded Gucci blazers, hoodies and Renaissance strips on pants. Familiar flashes of hot pink velvet suits from Resort collections and tartan knits create a colourful collection of gents who are picking up what maestro Alessandro Michele is putting down, every time.
Michele understands the power of symbolism, bringing back the Gucci logo as the must-have accessory, where cult followers bond over heritage stripes and the famous GG symbol.
A brave new world
In a world of social media hierarchy and Gucci Gang hashtags, Alessandro's runway show challenged the notion of what it means to embrace his direction for the fashion house. It's a vision that revolves around being genderless and seasonless – the antithesis of traditional fashion and possible why the designer has captivated the imagination of a youth determined to throw away the shackles of tradition.
Particularly so when it comes to the selection of models picked to wear the Gucci line.
Always known for a more freakish preferences, the models are pale, tall and lanky, alien-like, lacking in Vitamin D (some with the help of make-up) and squarely pitched at the millennial shopper. There's no chiselled torsos or facial hair to be found here – it's for the dweeb shoe gazer and millennial cry baby who turns to Gucci to heal all wounds.
Named after feminist philosopher Donna Haraway's 1984 book, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century, this lofty reference reminds us of Michele's empathy for all that is female. This looks to the future as an intersection of science and nature, of male and female.
This is where Cyborg came into play – alluding to the cutting and redefining of fashion by way of personality rather than gender – where Gucci cloning is all about being similar but different.
The Cyborg focus is designed to get us thinking about what is normal versus alien, psyche over matter and masculine versus feminine. Michele unveils a world where all exist in harmony and personality defines you rather than form itself.
This is what we have come to expect from Gucci under Michele's leadership – a mash of inspiration from feminist theory to trans-human exploration – from Renaissance roots to contemporary cultural references. It's baseball culture, '80s businessman on the road and nerdy teenagers with personal apothecaries. It's this juxtaposition that makes Gucci the fearless crusader – much like the Addams Family famous catch-cry of 'weird is relative'.
The writer was a guest of Gucci.