runway New York


Oh. My. God. Seeing is believing! I've seen it and I believe it, and I also believe that Gucci's new designer, Alessandro Michele, might not be back after this collection. What do they call it now? Oh yeah – not renewing his contract. It's not something I wish for, however, because Michele has taken Gucci far beyond the realms they've never dreamed of. And that's a necessary thing, I think, but has Michele pushed the envelope further than it should have been pushed? That remains to be seen.

Androgyny, or the Two Spirit approach as I call it – recognizing both the male and female qualities in each of us – has swept the men's and women's runways for Spring, at Duckie Brown, Lucio Castro, Carlos Campos and Public School, but nowhere like at Gucci. Men's S/S 2016. Long hair was de rigueur to pull off the look, but Michele cast aside genderizing considerations that have long been held sacred. The typical trenchcoat was no longer typical, as it became a slim, fit-and-flare coat with a very feminine A-line. While Gucci did not fall to the “hood” look of huge, wide legs dragging on the floor behind them that many other designers have – Gucci's, with their dropped crotch, were much narrower stovepipe-legged pants that dragged on the ground behind the models. Dragging, as in, say, six or eight inches too long. Yeah, that's what I want to do with my next pair of $600 Gucci pants – destroy them the first time I wear them.

So, the A-line trench and the ghetto pants – good basics, right? But dear Alesandro has a few more, um, basics to add. The dropped-waist, bateau neck middy-style shirt, or smock, with three-fourths sleeves and huge pussycat bow was a new basic. The bows – big and fluffy – came in a range of colors from pink to lilac. All traditional neckwear was replaced with bows or flowers. Another new basic was the shoe – often sparkly, and almost always cut so low around the foot that they laced over the bare instep and tied around the ankles like ballerina slippers.

The suits, embroidered and embellished within an inch of their lives, had shorter sleeves

(I like to call it “bracelet length”), a slim cut, and again with the sidewalk-dragging hems. A particular suit, in robin's egg blue silk covered with floral Chinese embroidery appeared to have been inspired by 18th Century wallpaper. Another, completely done in orchid-colored lace. Yet another in pink and green The alternate to the middy blouse was the shirt(dress). Not dress shirts, but shirt dresses. Below the knee. One, paired with the overlong trousers, was also topped with a three-fourths sleeved cropped bolero. The shirt dresses without pants or jackets, looked like granny gowns, particularly with the crocheted Peter Pan collars in salmon or turquoise. Is that a bad thing?

Even the motorcycle jacket was reimagined in lilac leather. With studs. And with lovely embroidery of birds and flowers. Worn with the huge bow at the neck. Not sure what kind of biker gang would sport these jackets, but you can be sure they ride side-saddle. And the reimagined baseball jacket, in red silk with gold metallic embroidery, is paired with coordinated pants – the entire ensemble resembled hostess pajamas. Tie-dyed cuffed short shorts were worn with bare legs and half-boots. Embroidered, beaded and fur trimmed bathrobes (negligees?) were as if they were from the wardrobe of Charles Worth himself. And the play suits, especially the crocheted two-piece with top and short shorts in white with red trim, adorned with an anchor and a butterfly... well they might just fly out of the store.

Accessories were huge leather tote bags, filmy scarves, and Jackie O sunglasses. Schoolgirl looks, naifs, geeks, Little Boys Blue – all in the mood of Two Spirit dressing. Alesandro, some of the individual pieces were gorgeously spectacular, but even I, unashamed to wear makeup and stilettos, would balk at wearing some of this because it looks like it belongs on little boys. It's not that it was such a feminized collection, it's just that it was too young. But God bless you, Alesandro, for keeping the freak flag flying, and for addressing the ever-expanding population of boys who look like girls who look like boys. For this, you have won my eternal allegiance.

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