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Gucci FW23 Was a Walk Down Memory Lane

From collaborations with Dickies, Harry Styles and Palace to Spring/Summer 2023’s viral sensation that was the “Twinsburg” runway show, and of course its Creative Director Alessandro Michele announcing his departure from the House, 2022 was quite the year for Gucci.

After seven years at the brand, Michele had brought Gucci back to its former glory of the Tom Ford hay days; sex was intertwined with heritage, flower power mingled with functional fashion, and even athleisure was explored under the then-CD’s nostalgic rose-tinted vision.

The results were extraordinary: people became fans of the House’s new identity, one punctuated in whimsical references (à la “HA HA HA” by Harry Styles), while others favored Michele’s maximalist touch of unapologetic glamor. Muses were cherry-picked with a keen eye for millennial and Gen-Z influence — Billy Eilish, Styles, Miley Cyrus, Wet Leg, Florence Welch, Jared Leto, and Lana Del Rey to name just a few — in turn making the brand relevant furthermore to a crowd it had seldom reached prior to Michele’s appointment in 2015. With this came figures to match; during Michele’s tenure, revenue almost tripled from €3.9bn EUR in 2015 to €9.7bn EUR in 2021. At multiple periods, quarterly growth approached 50%.

So, with this in mind, where does Gucci go next and how does it get there? By opening Milan Fashion Week.

Presenting its Fall/Winter 2023 collection at the menswear round of Milan Fashion Week, Gucci’s latest collection is actually one designed by an in-house design team that was closely linked to Michele. Think of it as a similar approach to Louis Vuitton’s recent collections, bar the upcoming Colm Dillane-designed one.

Combined, the team followed an ethos of improvisation. As the brand notes, “Improvisation is an act of collaboration. When the free impulses of individual minds interweave, collective expressions are conceived.” With this comes reflection, and Gucci FW23 was nothing but a walk through its history books, albeit recontextualized for today.

“Crystal GG,” a new lacquered canvas, was used across workwear looks like coveralls as well as House-signature bags and shoes. Those coveralls also feature slashes across the backs, a nod to Tom Ford-era sex appeal that continued to infiltrate much of the collection. From cut knees on oversized suits to white tank tops that scooped low on the neckline, there was a consistent thread of Ford’s influence. Re-imagining the Piston Lock was another throwback to Ford, as were motorcycling leathers and overcoats that wouldn’t look amiss in a Y2K campaign.

Sportswear numbers harked back to the 1980s with hot pink, satin blue, and an equestrian-themed quilted jacket all acknowledging the House’s extensive archive of graphics and branding, while the cuts of each piece felt right for today’s relaxed aesthetic. The “Crystal GG” material coated boots covered in the “GG” motif in an array of soft hues such as pink or the label’s signature tan, acting as the perfect oddity accent as they held jersey pajamas, jodhpurs and ski pants in their cuffs.

Of course, craftsmanship was a major component of the collection. Sequin overkill took place on trousers and tank tops, glistening against the lights that marched to the beat of a live performance by the rock band Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog. Puffy trench coats delicately fell and draped along the carpet, while the structure of a leather and shearling jacket looked as if the model was coated in armor. 

Overall, Gucci FW23 was a collection of the House’s greatest hits, delicately balanced to reflect the past and the transitions expected to come from the brand next time. Gucci’s FW23 collection can be seen in the gallery above.

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Stay tuned to Hypebeast to find more Milan Fashion Week FW23 content over the coming days.
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