The menswear Milan Fashion Week started with the first Gucci show without Alessandro Michele’s creative direction. The designer’s abrupt exit in the end of 2022 left the brand in a confusing position. Michele’s Gucci definitely needed some rest – those last collections were just over-the-top, feeling more like a parade of costumes. Nevertheless, the designer created an inclusive wonderland with his vision for the Italian brand. And the studio-designed autumn-winter 2023 collection foreshadows the end of that colorful world that kept the industry dreaming for the last seven years. Skinny boys are in, bland indie-sleaziness is in, subtle (but very subtle) echoes of Tom Ford are in. The first look said it all: a white T-shirt with oversized chinos, From this beginning unfolded a collection that Gucci said in its notes was an act of improvisation, a freestyle “reflection of the individualities represented by the multifaceted creatives and craftsmen who inhabit the house of Gucci.” In other words, a collection that lacked overall coherence. After the opener we drifted into a section of volumized tailoring which was possibly purposefully banal. Suiting with detachable arms and legs, a rugby shirt worn above an unpicked trouser-like skirt, oversized vintage-design womenswear bags with Tom Ford era hardware and hilariously described “vintage-like” silk scarfs used ’90s-style to patch denim were more dynamic elements. We saw the occasional horse bit loafer, apparently distressed. Around halfway through, the collection began to come freighted with identity beyond the jackets featuring a 1953-issue logo boasting of outlets spanning “Florence-Rome-Milan-New York” (plus those near-ubiquitous pirate’s boots and sailor’s beanies). Volume was replaced by indie sleaze in a section epitomized by a look featuring black patent-sheened five-pocket pants, and a sheer scarlet shirt that strangely echoed the first ever look put out by Michele. The furry leopard bag and pink boots that accompanied it added a touch of hustler-ish glunge. Moto pieces, knitwear, and pastel sportswear were thrown in to evoke a purposefully peripatetic, thrown-together aesthetic. Thick socks worn over jeans is a thing to consider, though. Still, this isn’t a good moment in Gucci’s history.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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