Alessandro Michele’s sacral ode to creative diversity and freedom—with the occasional S&M.

Alessandro Michele is never one to shy away from the subversive, drawing from a wide range of references to form inventive collections each season. Gucci’s Spring 2020 show was held in a room submerged in a red glow that suddenly flashed a sterile white, revealing an eerie procession of models floating down a conveyor belt, in 21 straightjacket-like looks- the most severe representation of the idea of uniformity. The real show started, however, when the lights came back on after a brief descent into darkness. The looks that followed showed that Michele’s signature was in full force, a deep contrast with the earlier, standardized looks. The collection embodied refined sexiness. Ethereal, sheer pieces effortlessly evolved into more heavily-tailored looks. Lace, chokers, fishnets, and daring slits provided tantalizing flirtations with the provocative. Accessories included thigh-high leather boots, and BDSM-esque whips in place of handbags. To balance it out, there were Michele’s usual quirks; oversized sunglasses on bulky chains, insect-like brooches, polka dots, stripes, and sequined fringe.

In a comment to the New York Times in response to model Ayesha Tan-Jones’s protest against the show’s use of straight jackets, Alessandro Michele clarified that the show’s stark opening looks were a statement on the dangers of the elimination of self-expression and will not be sold. The following collection was a contrasting celebration of individualism, creativity, and sensuality. An additional bonus: Gucci’s Spring 2020 Runway show was their first after announcing that the house would be going completely carbon neutral.