Gucci unveiled a collection for Spring 2020 that was more stripped back than ever, yet still conveyed joy as if to say “Gucci is a party and everyone is invited.” Inspired by resistance and fashion’s place in the world today. He traded logo mania for sleek tailoring, fewer loud prints and more refined tailoring. To illustrate the conflict between control and freedom, he opened the show with a series of models wearing all white garments. The room flashed a sinister red before the first wave of models emerged clad in variations of white straitjackets (not to be sold), standing motionlessly on the moving walkway. This prologue to the collection was accompanied by show notes touching on “uniforms, utilitarian clothes, the normative dress dictated by society and those who control it” and their tendency to sublimate self-expression and curb identity. This led to a protest from one model, Ayesha Tan Jones who stated “Mental Health is Not Fashion.”
A key reference point for the collection was Michel Foucault’s theory of “biopolitics,” described as “the power over life, over bodies. A power that legitimizes only some existences, confining others inside a regime of containment or invisibility” and the role of resistance against this power. Alessandro Michele sees fashion as a vehicle of freedom. “Fashion can let people walk through fields of possibilities, giving hints and evoking openness, cultivating promises of beauty, offering testimonies and prophecies, sacralising every form of diversity, feeding indispensable self-determination skills” says the designer.
The second half of the SS20 collection was more brightly colored, although infinitely more reserved than any of his previous collections. The designer said he took inspiration from Tom Ford’s time at Gucci in the ’90s, and titled the collection “ORGASMIQUE. ”There were slinky evening dresses and high-slit midi skirts, as well as polished suiting with labels on the hems that read “Gucci Orgasmique.” This seasons prints were more approachable, appearing as coordinated suiting or mix-and-matched ensembles with a maximum of two traditional patterns such as checker print and vintage florals. Remnants of Michele’s sartorial kink appeared as sheer panel insets, plunging lace trims and S&M glossy leather gloves, vinyl chokers, and oversized sunglass frames with matching chains that accentuated the new pared back elegance.