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Guccis Hollywood flex | Financial Time

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Fashion shows these days may seem less like a show of creative prowess and more like a chance for billionaire businessmen to show off their booty.

Take Gucci’s latest collection, showcased in Los Angeles, where the $ 7.4 billion brand has closed a block of Hollywood Boulevard – during rush hour, no less – in front of it. ‘iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The financial and logistical strength required was impressive, exceeded only by the Oscars in terms of scope and ambition.

The brand’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, then sent more than a hundred models to the sidewalks, their branded mules or their snakeskin boots dragging the stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Creative director Alessandro Michele hinted at old Hollywood glamor with feather boas. . .

. . . and transparent bathrobes edged with feathers

The front row was packed with stars – Gwyneth Paltrow in her famous burgundy velvet Gucci suit she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996, Billie Eilish, Dakota Johnson – while Jared Leto and Macaulay Culkin took turns on the runway. Magazine editors, influencers and other VIPs flocked from all over the world. Even for a city like LA, which sees its fair share of sensational events, it was one for the Memory Books.

The cost must have been immense, but Gucci is a sprawling global brand, responsible for more than half of the group’s sales and 84% of the profits of parent company Kering.

Column chart of annual sales (€ bn) showing that Gucci stands out among the best Kering brands

On the catwalk, Michele has continued to refine and update a formula that has doubled Gucci’s sales since he was first installed as Creative Director in 2015. It’s a vast aesthetic. and varied which mixes the literary and the libidinous, a little naughty. librarian gone mad.

There were hints of old Hollywood glamor woven throughout, like in the tiered dresses inspired by lace lingerie and campy boas; there was a bit of cheeky dominatrix in latex camisoles and tubular tops, while boudoir femme fatales were conjured up with sheer dresses edged with feathers. The elegance of Fred Astaire could be seen in the shimmering three-piece suits cut with a slight swagger from the 1970s, while the dramatic broad shoulders of some jackets hinted at the power suits of the 1980s. And was it a devious blow. to LA’s penchant for athletic recreation in ribbed tights worn with oversized sneakers and blazers?

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Logo catsuits and tights worn with athletic sneakers and heels. . .

. . . and “Gucci Friends” including Macaulay Culkin paraded alongside models

The Gucci collections are an embarrassment of wealth, and this was no exception. After the show, Michele spoke of being inspired by the idea of ​​cinema, and that Gucci has long been “tied to the cinema”. He loved the idea of ​​contrasting the eccentrics he saw on the streets of Hollywood with the goddesses of the big screen, and he managed to project that tension into his collection, where he wanted to explore the “spooky world of Hollywood.” It’s a little dark.

There is a depth to the work that can often be hard to absorb, as in the cowboy references he revealed were not nods to John Wayne but actually inspired by subcultures. queer and fetishism. Some of the jewelry was modeled on sex toys.

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Some looks were inspired by the eccentrics Michele spotted on the streets of Hollywood. . .

. . . while others included references to queer subcultures and fetishism

These product layers are good for branding – the overloaded style has been a hit on Instagram – and is good for business. The magpie look has attracted huge fame and consumers gobble up the products every season. The brand gets a good deal of its ready-to-wear, which gives it the right to brag about its competitors who rely on beauty and bags to make money.

But still, there is a feeling that the brand can spin its wheels. “Brand fatigue appears to be a problem,” said Luca Solca, senior luxury goods analyst at Bernstein. “Gucci had the best revival in the history of the luxury and fashion industry six years ago. But since then, his approach seems to have been “more the same” aesthetic. “

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Domineering style latex tube tops were paired with romantic lace skirts. . .

. . . more classic contrasting looks, including off-the-shoulder blazers and A-line skirts

But Kering executives are feeling optimistic: 2021 is the brand’s centenary, which it marked with a lively collaboration with another Kering-owned powerhouse, Balenciaga, which hits stores this month. And then there’s the film directed by Lady Gaga Gucci House, which will undoubtedly have a halo effect on the brand.

The proliferation of destination fashion shows appears to be one of the biggest emerging post-Covid-19 trends in the industry, as brands combine their men’s and women’s catwalks and choose to showcase away from the related traditional fashion weeks to fashion capitals of the world like New York. , London and Paris. It’s easier to create a moment away from the hubbub of the busy fashion week schedule. It’s also a power play; small brands can’t afford to fly hundreds of guests for a 15-minute show.

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Jared Leto wore a relaxed oversized blazer with a 1980s flavor. .

. . . while the models wore shimmering 1970s-inspired three-piece suits

Thus, Gucci scores points in terms of sheer spectacle – production and execution was what one would expect from such a global fashion superpower. And yet, there was a missed opportunity to evolve the Gucci look. It was always the sexy, eclectic and over the top Gucci we already know. Post-pandemic, will this be enough?

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