LOS ANGELES – On election night in America, in the shadow of Grauman’s Chinese theater and amid the high anticipation for Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” movie, Gucci designer Alessandro Michele performed “Gucci Love Parade”. his first in-person. show since February 2020, on Hollywood Boulevard.
Style and stars clash in a blaze of marabou, lace and lame baths in pink and purple marker lights. It was hard to escape the feeling that it was all a movie and everyone in it was just a character. That, after 18 months of living through screens, the boundaries between fashion and celluloid fantasy had finally collapsed, split the seams.
An entire city block was closed off, each side of the Walk of Stars lined with hundreds of executive chairs in signature Gucci canvas. Gwyneth Paltrow, in a new version of the red velvet Gucci suit she wore to the VMAs in 1996, went with Dakota Johnson (in sparkling black sequins), who happens to be dating her ex-husband. Nearby sat Salma Hayek Pinault, in a silver and blue shirt dress with sequins, who died in “House of Gucci” and is married to François-Henri Pinault, the general manager of Kering, who owns the real Gucci.
Jared Leto, who is a Michele muse, and also in “House of Gucci,” ran the job in white denim, aviators and a double-breasted blazer. That’s what Miranda July did, in a strawberry cardigan with faux fur, large Gucci logo slips and stockings. At the side, Billie Eilish (in a crystal skullcap) and Miley Cyrus (in sapphire fringe and buttery feathers) applauded.
“It’s a dream come true,” Mr. Michele said at a press conference after the show why he had decided to leave Milan for Los Angeles. “There was no better place to start over.”
After all, it was back in May 2020, when a large part of the world was self-isolated and the fashion world itself was in crisis, that Mr. Michele had first declared a reminder of the industrial system, stepped off the trail of four city collections and left old categories fall and spring. Since that time, and perhaps more than any other designer, he has resolutely cut to a separate path: creating “Guccifest,” a mini film festival complete with a Gus Van Sant-directed Gucci mini-series; “hacking” in Balenciaga in April (and let Balenciaga’s designer, Demna Gvasalia, hack him right back).
Come to Hollywood, who Mr. Michele called “the American Olympus”, to return to the runway was a logical next step.
Not just because of the stories his mother told him about Hollywood that inspired him to make clothes. Or because, like Mr. Michele said, Gucci has deep roots in the jet set and it’s bigger than life, or because the brand has sponsored the annual LACMA gala for many years.
But because more and more of the traditional gravitational and social rules of what to wear when and where no longer apply, and much of that is thanks to Mr. Michele’s work at Gucci. He regularly ignores old ideas of day and night or fancy and sporty as men and women, hopping through historical references, and eventually builds his characters in a way that was once only available in the movies – or only recognized in the movies .
His clothes are unbashedly costume – they revel in the fun of playing dress-up, instead of pushing a silhouette forward or exploring construction. He designs on a pitch of maximalist emotions instead of modernism. (To say that his collections look like the ultimate vintage store is a legitimate complaint.)
So this time there were Marilyn Monroe silver and gold goddess farms and Rita Hayworth-worthy lace nightgowns; souvenir palm tree print shirts and just-off-the-bush cotton lawn and cowboy hats; Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra jackets and Joan Crawford shoulders. There were the variables of the back fate and era of Edith Head and Adrian, when costume designers were also famous designers, because they understood that life, as much as the world, is a stage, and everyone dresses for her entrance, darling.
That’s why Mr. Michele put his show in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard: to emphasize the fact that the usual act of getting ready to go out and get some milk is a performance in itself. Especially now that any moment can end online and everyone is the director of his own social media.
And maybe then you want to throw a big fake fur chubby over your corset. Sport a three-piece suit in mint green or shell-pink satin with large fake orchids on the lapel. Wear knitted cycling shorts under a yacht blazer with cowboy boots. Whatever! Add a sparkling cat mask. Or maybe a ferry. It’s ridiculous (it is). It’s a blast (it is).
Then stroll down the center of a city street while spotlights illuminate the sky. And let everyone who watches wonder what the scene is, exactly, this is.