You never know what to expect from Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele at his runway shows, other than it’ll be fabulous and create a viral social moment. Take, for example, his Fall/Winter 2018 presentation when models held replicas of their own heads or his tribute to Old Hollywood glamour for his Spring/Summer 2022 show. Michele has the ability to transport his fans to an alternate dimension through his visionary designs and he did this literally in Gucci’s Resort 2023 collection. For this season, Michele called it the “Gucci Cosmogonie,” tapping into a dinner topic every fashion girl will be familiar with: the mysticalness of the cosmos, sprinkled with erudite references to notable philosophers.
By sunset, attendees arrived to the historic Castel del Monte — a 13th century citadel and castle situated on a hill in Andria, Italy — for the show. A series of constellations illuminated the runway while from a loudspeaker somewhere narrations, which sounded like code words one would hear in a space station, vibrated throughout the space. For a little context into Michele’s latest presentation: He paid homage to Hannah Arendt (a political philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor) and her intellectual relationship with Walter Benjamin (an influential critical theorist and fellow philosopher), who is credited with constellation thinking, a concept of bringing the past and present together.
“Benjamin, after all, is a collector of quotations. He discovers them from the depths of the sea and he brings them back on the surface of the water, as rare and precious pearls. He reassembles them, like shreds of thoughts that need to be recomposed, reconstructed, updated...” Michele said in the show notes. “Such an extraordinary ability to illuminate connections, which would otherwise be invisible, makes Benjamin the paradigmatic figure of those thinking in constellations. A term that he turns into a philosophical concept. What can seem, at first sight, atomized and dispersed, like the stars in the sky, through Benjamin’s eyes becomes an assembly of complicity: a connective structure that lights up the darkness through the epiphany of a constellation.”
If you don’t yet have time to digest the learnings of Arendt and Benjamin, it’s not necessary in order to appreciate Michele’s interpretation of their philosophical work in his Resort 2023 collection. One of the first looks to go down the runway was a black furry coat covered in glittering stones, which mimicked images of galaxies. Shimmery embellishments were repeated in a denim vest and pants combo, giving a modern interpretation of how to incorporate the universe motif into clothing without veering into cliché territory. Crystal cosmo embellishments were even worked into Michele’s signature tailored suits, covering the shoulders and sides of pants legs.
Meanwhile, longtime fans of the designer will recognize his other key signatures in the new collection such as the use of the oversized drop shoulder silhouette, sequins, lamé fabric (see the runway look with the silvery metallic cape), and ruffles, which, this time appeared around the models’ necks as a type of collar. The celestial theme, however, tapered off when it came to the accessories such as the bags and shoes.
Guests were greeted with studded gladiator sandals, ballet-inspired flats, and the return of the thigh-high boot (circa 2009). The latter tucked underneath velvet maxi dresses and styled with sheer minis that revealed Gucci-logo undergarments. Purses almost took a backseat in this collection, with crystal clutches, crossbody bags, and totes blending into the runway looks. But a certain style in particular did stand out: the strawberry-shaped bags. The fruit print has appeared in previous Gucci collections, including in its Spring 2019 lineup when a model wore the design on a pair of pants.
Before anyone’s attention started to wander (the show was close to some people’s bedtime), the closing look brought everyone back to Michele’s Cosmogonie theme. A model dutifully hiked up her heavy gown, which was covered in crystal embellishments to portray a starry night sky, as she did her lap around the Castel del Monte. If you missed Gucci’s Resort 2023 runway show, watch it online here or simply scroll ahead to see several runway looks that’ll serve as your CliffNotes for this collection.