When it comes to self-expression, Gucci elevates the concept to the very heights of creativity. This season, autumn/winter 2022, is one of its most expressive yet. In Exquisite Gucci, those who have loved the house for decades and those whose love for it is new can find their own way. Fluidity permeates the designs; the outfits themselves begin to take on lives beyond the runway setting.
“Clothes are capable of reflecting our image in an expanded and transfigured dimension. Wearing them means to cross a transformative threshold where we become something else,” says Alessandro Michele, the house’s Creative Director, on his Exquisite Gucci collection, which was first shown in February.
The show was memorable to all—not least that it was Michele’s first Gucci runway in Milan in two years and that, when a pregnant Rihanna walked in to assume her place on the front row, the camera flashes refracted from every mirrored surface. “I use the metaphor of the magical mirror to approach the phantasmagorical power of fashion,” says Michele. “A sacred power that radiates from the surface of the fabrics.”
This power—of dressing for oneself, using style to shape-shift and express individuality—is evoked in Vogue’s ‘A Slice of Exquisite Life’ story, shot by Joshua Woods in London. Our muses, each distinct in age and aesthetic, reflect the range of styles and characters enabled to be conjured by this collection. Missy Rayder, Stella Lucia, Oluchi Onweagba, Pei Pei Tang and Lily McMenamy are all styled by Ola Ebiti whose approach sees each individual reinvent themselves in an assortment of London scenes inspired by Britain’s rich music culture, the mood shifting from frame to frame.
In one scene, Missy Rayder and Pei Pei Tang collide as they move through the city, Rayder with an extravagant armful of pink lilies, Tang out walking her Gucci-clad dog. Rayder carries Gucci’s new tote in white leather, with blue-and-red stripes and gold-tone hardware; while Tang wears the knee-high boots in black leather with classic Horsebit detail. The pieces seem made for them—yet they could easily be worn in different contexts, by different people, as ‘A Slice of Exquisite Life’ highlights.
Snapshots of Stella Lucia and Oluchi Onweagba show off monogrammed tailoring; while their bags crafted in GG Matelassé leather complete this particular homage to the ‘90s logo trend. Elsewhere, Lily McMenamy in bold red latex stays true to her own off-beat approach, with a pair of yellow-tinted sunglasses helping her transform into another captivating character.
Our final slice of exquisite life sees the group reunite in another spirit entirely. With the roof down, ready to drive out of town, they bring the collection full circle. The Gucci Blondie bag in brown leather introduces a geometric version of the interlocking G from the archive; while the slouchy crescent-shaped Gucci Attache bag in amber suede speaks to the House’s luxury heritage. Each model looks completely themselves, epitomising their own eclectic freedom in style, as in life.
“I work, on this tactile surface, through cross reference, alterations, loopholes and grafts. Juxtaposing worlds and meanings. Altering the stability of perception. Manipulating and magnifying the existing,” Michele says, conveying the considered potential of every detail in the collection. “Through these interventions, I celebrate the clothes as real optical labs: magical machines that can give birth to fairy tales of metamorphosis and re-enchantment.”
As Michele says, through our choice of clothes, there’s an opportunity to “enhance and articulate, in a different way, our identity and our exhibiting potential.” With countless possibilities, Exquisite Gucci is a collection that’s made to suit each and every individual.
The Exquisite Gucci Collection is available in-stores and online.