Alessandro Michele celebrates five years at Gucci with Peter Pan collars, childhood nostalgia, and a condemnation of machismo.
A spotlit pendulum swings back and forth in the middle of the runway at Palazzo delle Scintille in Milan, drawing a line in the sand beneath it, as a montage of nostalgic images—birthday cakes, balloons, and childhood moments—play on the screen for viewers.
The room is silent for a moment before being engulfed by Marylin Manson music in accompaniment to the first outfit reveal: a velvet blazer featuring an embroidered bunny patch, a cropped cream sweater with a peter-pan collared shirt beneath, metallic silver trousers, and classic Gucci loafers.
The pendulum begins to move in seemingly random motions, a tribute to French philosopher Paul-Michel Foucault’s concept that our perception of time is non-linear and symbolizing Alessandro Michele’s allegorical re-conceptualization of masculinity, from boyhood to manhood.
Familiar tropes of Gucci were dispersed among the models, such as the kangaroo-lined loafer (now sans marsupial) that made its debut during Michele’s first collection in 2015. Certainly, it wouldn’t be a dreamy glimpse into Michele’s reimagined childhood without a bit of liberty floral —the nostalgic print appeared upon several bags, a pair of shoes, a handful of peter-pan collared dresses, and even a puffer jacket.
Deviating from the traditional, oppressive representations of masculinity, Michele offers this collection as a challenge to commonplace machismo. In this refreshing and euphoric array, a different approach: one where we celebrate men who are free to practice self-expression without social constraints. Rather than suggesting a new model, Michele wants to release what was once repressed.
Michele’s journey with expression and masculinity has long been documented—his first collection was gender-fluid and graceful. With this collection, he continues that conversation.