The stars were out in more ways than one at Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2022 ready-to-wear show on Nov. 2. Yes, set upon the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. — where stars like Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Clark Gable, and Judy Garland are immortalized with cemented handprints — Alessandro Michele hosted a bevy of A-listers, fashion insiders, and influencers to enjoy his “Love Parade,” which essentially paid homage to some of the people who made Hollywood, well, Hollywood.
“Mum worked in the film industry as an assistant in a production company,” recalls Michele in the show notes. “I remember all the stories she told me, and the details and the sparkles, about that dream factory. There was the alabaster paleness of Marilyn Monroe and her diaphanous voice. There were the black satin gloves of Rita Hayworth and Veronica Lake’s velvet hair, as well as the bewitching allure of Rock Hudson and Kim Novak’s dizzying transformative power. Everything felt like a fairy tale.”
For this presentation, the creative director wanted to capture the indefeasible gift of dreaming and the mythopoetic aura of cinema, hence he chose Hollywood Boulevard to set this scene. “This boulevard of stars lends perfect support to my uncurbed love for the classical world,” says Michele. “Hollywood is, after all, a Greek temple populated by pagan divinities. Here actors and actresses are acknowledged as heroes of the myth: hybrid creatures with the power to hold divine transcendence and mortal existence at the same time, both the imaginary and the real. They are the idols of a new contemporary cosmogony, embodying a persistence of the sacred. Aphrodite, Theseus, Pandora, and Medusa still live in Hollywood’s Olympus. Beyond reach, and yet, so human.”
The stage for Michele’s latest collection needed little preparation as the fluorescent marquees of Los Angeles’ most famous street glowed brighter than any stage light could. Single rows of director’s chairs aligned down the boulevard, filled with some of the biggest names in the business: Diane Keaton, Gwyneth Paltrow (who wore the iconic red velvet Tom Ford for Gucci suit she famously donned at the 1996 MTV Music Awards), Lizzo, Salma Hayek, Billie Eilish, and Tracee Ellis Ross to name a few. It seems no one wanted to miss what the Italian house was serving for the evening.
A true homage to Old Hollywood, Michele took a page from the golden era of film and television, with a barrage of ensembles seemingly cut right out of a 1950s romantic comedy, film noir, or classic Western. Colossal furry coats and dramatic fur-trimmed dressing gowns in sherbet shades of lime and raspberry pink were a nod to Marilyn Monroe (who was also quoted atop the Pantages Theater’s marquee that night,) wide-brimmed cowboy hats smacked of John Wayne, while dainty jewel-encrusted tiaras read very Audrey Hepburn á la Breakfast At Tiffany's. (If this all reads a bit familiar, your instincts would be right, as Michele also drew inspiration from Monroe for his fall 2021 “Aria” collection, which featured an homage to the dress worn by the late actor during her infamous “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” moment.) Also speaking to the ‘40s and ‘50s were the thigh-high fishnet stockings, corset, garters, and platform Mary Janes that galloped down the Tinseltown sidewalk.
And while the nod to Old Hollywood glamour was an obvious gesture, so was Michele’s inclusion of another era that has come to define much of his collections since joining Gucci in 2015: the ‘70s. Intersecting the extravagant furs, glistening headpieces, and pin-up style undergarments was a clear retro-inspired theme. Shimmering satin and vibrant checkered suits, oversized flat aviator-style glasses, and metallic goddess-like gowns also peppered the throwback runway that read like a History of Fashion course. This is unsurprising, considering Michele has stated that he views himself as more of an archaeologist than a creative director for an iconic Italian fashion house.
He’s also an advocate. While the show’s venue is symbolic of the golden eras captured in the collection, it’s also a literal statement of Gucci’s latest philanthropic initiative through its Changemakers fund. “Gucci is proud to highlight the intersection of creativity and culture within the City of Los Angeles, poised for rebirth,” said the brand in a statement. “As part of Gucci’s Changemakers program, powered by Gucci Equilibrium, Gucci will provide significant support to the Los Angeles and Hollywood communities through a donation to the city’s most critical needs: homelessness and mental health.” Indeed, according to Women’s Wear Daily, Gucci is donating $1 million to local organizations like YMCA Hollywood, Sole Folks, Happy Hippie Foundation, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
See more from the collection below.