For a cruise 2019 runway show, how does one better Chanel's life-size boat or Dior's horsey extravaganza? By showing in a graveyard, of course.
But not just any graveyard. To present its latest cruise collection, Gucci went to the famous Alyscampsa, a large Roman necropolis a short distance outside of the old town of Arles, France.
The event was timed so that guests walked the long promenade as the sun was setting, before arriving at the runway, which, fittingly, ran between ancient tombs. Lit by a Gothic candelabra, infused with creeping clouds of smoke, set against the sounds of choral opera that definitely leant towards the spooky, we waited.
As church bells chimed, and fire raced up the centre of the runway (the flames of hell?) the clothes themselves swept past. Models were packed closely on the runway, as yet another incarnation of artistic director Alessandro Michele's unique vision unfolded.
Although the setting was dark and gothic, the clothes were delicate and pretty. The opening look was a quilted coat and skirt in sugar pink, matched with bright green lace tights. In an interesting switch, silhouettes for women were larger and more dramatic, while looks boys' were tighter and tighter. Gowns were dreamy - and while they occasionally strayed perilously close to the flames - were all immensely wearable.
And this is the skill of Gucci. Although the looks may seem too much for some, that is how they are styled. Strip that away and what we are left with is pieces that are well designed, stylish, wearable and very beautiful.
Critics will question how many times Michele can rework his magpie aesthetic, but with the shows going from strength to strength, and with sales still strong, the answer is that there is clearly much, much more to come from this supremely talented man.
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