THE MASKS (OPPOSITE)
Creative director Alessandro Michele must have really enjoyed Jordan Peele’s Us, with its theme of wearing physical and metaphorical masks. Borrowing from German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt’s 1958 book The Human Condition – which proposes that a mask not only conceals, but also reveals the persona that one chooses to project – he’s titled Gucci’s F/W ’19 collection “The Mask As A Cut Between Visible and Invisible” and conjures up one intense masquerade fest. Cue erotic masks with extended spikes; an antique-y brass helmet shaped like an eagle’s head; and mouthless designs that look straight out of Friday the 13th. Halloween dressing has never been chicer.
THE JEWELLERY (ABOVE)
Necklaces resembling armour plates; resin and glass stone cabochons that recall mythical stones mined from the deepest crevices of the earth; claw rings with sharp talons that could pass off as weapons. As with the collection in general, Michele’s signature maximalist jewellery takes on a dark edge this season without dialling down the glamour. To get the antiquated look down pat, the metal surfaces of the necklaces, earrings and bracelets are hand-engraved to create a scratched, unpolished finish, while the claw rings feature a serpentine motif and are encrusted with crystals that are manually set. For more subversive designs bound to thrill neogoths: spiked leather chokers, cuffs and hairbands inspired by vintage collars worn by French hunting dogs.
THE NEW SIGNATURE BAG (FAR LEFT)
Michele is a master of updating vintage designs to give them cool currency, and his latest star bag is no different. Yet to be christened at press time, it’s a streamlined, structured flap bag with a distinctive ring buckle that lends just the right dose of disco hipness. The latter is based on an archival style from the ’70s and features a twisted double “G” motif dubbed the torchon. The result? A fashionable antidote to classic alloccasion carriers, what with its pragmatic build (choose from S or M); adjustable shoulder strap (it was carried top handle style on the runway); and accompanying braided silk twill scarf – sold separately – that takes it into boho-bourgeois territory.
THE HIS-MEETS-HERS TAILORING (MAIN PICTURE)
It’s one of the first things that one would notice about the collection: Never has the brand put out so many suits at a go. And with the show invite featuring a mask of the androgynous Greek deity Hemaphroditus, it’s clear that it’s as much a message about gender norms as it is a new proposition for daily dressing. The three-piece suits are the best examples of Michele’s fusion of feminine and masculine elements into one sharp outfit: Jackets are cinched slightly at the waist, paired with dapper waistcoats and wide culottes (these have elastic waistbands for a comfier fit). Other jackets are boxy and oversized while all pants possess a similar borrowed-from-the-boys cut, even when they’re cuffed at the ankles.
THE EARS (NEAR LEFT)
Hear us out: One of the recurring motifs/ statement accessories throughout the 87look collection comes in the form of gilded brooches and clip-on earrings with a surrealist bent. Their inspiration: the work of Argentinian conceptual artist Eduardo Costa, best known among the fashion press for his 1966 “Fashion Fictions” series that saw him sculpting 24K gold onto body parts like ears, toes and strands of hair to resemble jewellery. The approach got Costa onto the Richard Avedon-lensed March 1968 cover of Vogue US, which featured his creations on the model Marisa Berenson. Consider Michele’s take a more practical yet no less head-turning version of wearable art.