Individual spotlights illuminate life-size relics from Ancient Rome, Egypt and the Aztecs. A steady techno beat welcomes models down an angular runway. Reminiscent of a German nightclub, the immersive sound intensifies as figures appear through the smoke; broad shoulders, Prince of Wales checks, fur coats and capes, tulle dresses adorned with embellishments emerge. The accompanying track jumps between short interludes of strings and choral singing before careering back into heavy, electronic sounds. A true collision of historical pop culture and fashion influence, the Gucci SS18 show displays yet another fine representation of creativity in fashion display.

(if there’s any soundphiles out there who can ID these tracks we’d be really grateful)

Fashion’s infamously long and troubled past associated with the blurred lines between inspiration, copying and blatant theft is one that can be debated time after time. This season Alessandro Michele chooses transparency, in a clever plea to avoid the rapid social media sh*t storm that inevitably ensues if designers are accused of copying one another or up and coming artists (see Michele’s recent beef with young CSM artist @pierlouis7).

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As per Michele flips all expectations on their head, this time adopting Instagram phenomenon @diet_prada to take over the @gucci ‘story’ for this big show, an account devoted to highlighting the blatant similarities between archived and modern catwalk items in the world of luxury. Presumably some previous research was undertaken, or else these guys really are the pro’s of the fashion archives, with the takeover consisting of showcasing the inspiration for Michele’s designs alongside a live stream of the coming season, letting every consumer in to the realms of the artists imagination.

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“I’m not trying to work with a single story, but different ideas and aesthetics”

Influencers were highlighted as Elton John, Erick Berry (a book illustrator from 1935) and SEGA, our all time favourite old school entertainment company. Adopting an open and honest approach to sharing this seasons collection allows Michele to transform an issue once highlighted as problematic within the industry into a powerful marketing tool, curating yet another innovative selling point for the brand.

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Where @diet_prada is usually known for attempting to slate artists for their lack of imagination, with the account previously having called out Gucci upon the copying of Harlem’s Dapper Dan (Gucci has since apologised, with a promise they’ve learnt their lesson), this time the pair teamed up to prove that origin is everything.

“They invited us to analyze the collection and spot their references, and we are finding their transparency refreshing… this is the way to go! ” @diet_prada

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One stand out piece amongst the collection, and one which will definitely be lining your Instagram feed in the next few months with inevitably sh*t copies from Missguided on the way this week, was a knit piece reading ‘Never marry a Mitford’. The Mitford sisters, called out by @diet_prada as ‘the Kardashians of the 50’s’) were the six daughters of the 2nd Baron Redesdale, notable and often controversial figures in British high society in the period around World War II.

Michele often notes British high society and history as inspiration for his recent feats, having recently sponsored the ‘House Style’ exhibition at Chatsworth House where the Mitford’s once lived.

Duchess of Devonshire with granddaughter, model Stella Tennant outside Chatsworth House

The 11th Duke married the youngest Mitford sister, and with a penchant for creating his own novelty slogan pullovers in later life decorated them with humorous phrases including “All Passion Spent” and, the now relevant, “Never Marry A Mitford”. Upon Michele’s tranparency, they’ve been Guccified, but fully credited in the process.

With every one of Michele’s creative influences harbouring a highly researched grain of inspiration from the routes of a historical archive, it is true it could be said that nothing here is truly original. However, as every trend forecaster will re-iterate, each trend is only born of inspiration from another, and it is obvious that re-purposing old designs into contemporary trends is at the very core of successful design. In many ways the birth of innovation is through the use of recognisable styles, motifs and design features to recall an iconic relationship in the viewers brain. By listing his influences, connecting heritage and modernity, and embracing the necessity of transparency in the modern fashion sphere, it is again apparent Michele is one of the best designers of 2017.

By Alex Theaker (@alexjtheaker)


& Alex Neilson-Clark @alexncxx

Fashion Editor

*collaborative tings*

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