Worn-in denim, a Michele mainstay, was given the Gucci treatment with bejewelled embellishments running the outer flanks of ripped shorts and wide leg jeans. Shaggy fake fur coats hung off model’s frames like the ears of Afghan hounds, while syrupy tailored separates in black and tweed were dressed up with shimmering chainmail capes, and down with quotidien powder-blue work shirts.
The collection was also a siren call to the world’s peacocks. Sure, there were a couple of slouchy jersey pieces in the show—a spongy split sleeve rugby shirt here, a pair of voluminous cashmere checkerboard track pants there—but on the whole the collection marked an intentional return to elevated elegance, a mood only enhanced by the dramatic backdrop of the show.
The collection also returned to some classic Michele touchstones. The designer has a passion for the golden days of the British aristocracy (he showed his cruise ’17 collection at Chatsworth, the ancestral seat of the Duchy of Devonshire, and by extension the Mitford sisters), and the Cosmogonie collection read a little bit like the dream wardrobe for an early 20th century debutante ball. So well developed was the weekend-at-a-country-house theme, in fact, that the collection even featured a couple of voluminous diamond quilted barn jackets worn, naturally, with roomy seventies tailoring and beaded Greco-Roman sandals.
Much of the hardware in the collection—from the diamond encrusted nose chains to the chandelier work which coated the denim pieces—seemed inspired by the constellation of ideas present in Benjamin’s writing: magpie-style garnishes paired with rigorous clothing beneath.
“The constellation for Benjamin is a sudden apparition, full of tensions,” wrote Michele in his notes. “It is what comes out of the capacity to draw conjunctions between fragments of worlds which would be otherwise dispersed: a feverish dust of quotations that burns in the possibility of a contact.”
This story originally ran on British GQ with the title “Gucci Cosmogonie: A bright new constellation for the fashion firmament”