If Gucci’s executives wanted a new direction from their recently appointed creative director, Alessandro Michele, they got it. Today at Milan Fashion Week, Michele debuted his first womenswear collection for the Italian luxury label. It was a complete turnaround from the work of his long-standing predecessor, Frida Giannini, whose abrupt and messy departure from Gucci at the beginning of 2015 after a period of slumping sales surprised the industry.
Michele’s much-anticipated debut was heavy on languid, frilled drapery, ’70s bohemia, florals, and the romantic androgyny that characterized his first menswear presentation last month. Men’s military coats and menswear-influenced tailoring—as well as a few men—came down the runway, alongside dresses made of lace and sheer fabrics that revealed plenty of female skin. There were also long skirts and embroidered collars for those who want to be a little more modest.
Michele’s background in accessory design came into play as well, resulting in a mix of staid and playful pieces. Fur-trimmed loafers featured prominently, as did classic leather bags, ballerina flats with pompoms, and whatever those wonderfully furry slippers were. Glasses were everywhere, and the nerdy-chic vibe they created fit right in with the berets and ’70s-style furs.
The overall effect was a stark contrast to his predecessor’s glossy Gucci, which seemed designed for a European jet-setter with a palazzo in Milan and a summer home in Capri.
Michele’s was a softer and much riskier showing, but one that proves he’s capable of filling the top role at the brand. The new direction is already building buzz, and it feels fresh for Gucci. Perhaps a little gawky romance is just what the label needs.