While his previous shows have been in dark, underground venues, Alessandro Michele airlifted 400 guests to Arles in the South of France to worship at the feet of his fiery new Resort collection.
The Alyscamps, the graveyard Michele chose to showcase his Resort 2019 collection in, was a fashionable place to visit in the 1700s, and somewhere many artists found inspiration. Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin would paint together there, and Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s work was inspired by the spooky setting. The clothes in the show featured intricate embroideries of verses from Dante’s poems, as well as embroideries of obscure references to local history, which included some of the city’s former names: Gallula Roma and Urbs Genesii.
The Alyscamps burial ground sits outside the city walls of Arles, in the South of France. The garden is lined with the stone sarcophagi of the Roman rulers that once occupied the city. For the show, somber music filled the air and a line of fire coursed along the runway – amplifying Michele’s mood of paying homage to past civilizations, death and the afterlife.
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As night fell, guests who included Saoirse Ronan, Gia Coppola, Petra Collins, A$AP Rocky, Salma Hayek and Christian Lacroix took their seats on modern mirrored cubes. The show began shortly after the runway was set alight with flames.
Michele mixed-up and played around with all of his brand signatures across 114 looks for both men and women. Plaid skirts, floral silk prints, tiger patterns, velvet dresses and embroidered capes all emerged from the fog of the runway, evoking a mood of seventies Victoriana. Julie Stordiau, Vincent Farelly and Jean- Baptiste Martin, French print makers who work under the name Antoinette Poisson and draw inspiration from 18th century interiors, provided print designs in the collection.
“ALYSCAMPS IS GOTHIC, IT HAS A ROCK-AND-ROLL SOUL…IT COULD BE A PLACE TO HOLD A RAVE.”
Frank Olive, a New York-based milliner who has designed for Oscar de la Renta and Diana Ross, provided feathered hats, while bags had a new tiger motif – the work of designer Hattie Carnegie, who designed decorative hats and jewelry from the 1920s through to the 1950s.
The sound of church bells and owls greeted guests as they arrived. Adding to the clouds of smoke and rows of tall church candles, bathing the open-air space in a Gothic splendor, the haunting soundtrack of Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘Vespers for the Blessed Virgin’ offered a somber soundtrack for the models, who wafted down the runway.
Michele introduced “a close friend” of his, Elton John, to play a surprise gig at the after-party that went well into the early hours of the morning. The two will continue their bromance as the Gucci creative director is also designing John’s upcoming, three-year, 300-show Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour that will end in 2021.
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