Ave Ale!

by Valentina Ilardi Martin

26 February 2015

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I believe it was nine years ago when I was asked to work by an Italian TV station to prepare five short episodes about fashion. The audience of this program was young, so I decided to go the sarcastic route (which is the kind of humor I embrace).

The five topics were all based on fashion stereotypes, one of those being “The New Romantic.”

When I woke up this morning in New York, Gucci had already showed in Milan, hence I was able to see the new collection designed by Alessandro Michele for breakfast. (Italian Style = Cappuccino, no sugar thank you! After all, this is Fashion.)

I landed on Style.com and was immediately struck by the dedicated title on the main banner, which, simply and superficially, classifies the collection into one of those recurring drastically-predictable, fashion-lobotomized "trends." It was also the title that I had once used, sarcastically, years ago on Italian TV. Minus, predictably, the sarcasm. 

But as they say, the best is yet to come … So I click GUCCI on the right side of the page …

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Love at first sight. It was the first time in years that I felt so close to a collection. The realistic take of this Italian #freshman literally made me breathe in fresh air. For the first time, someone made me wish I was in Milan. (I am from Rome.) I found it sublime, "achievable,” and consequently human: dedicated to real women that have dreams, new dreams, and a new way of dreaming. They should probably change the title from “The New Romantic” to “Dreaming Anew.” 

A casa mia dreams are made to be achieved. 

The decrepit “dream of fashion" factory ("aspirational!") is replaced by simplification. Alessandro has delivered a, yes, personal collection, but also a very layered one. It's profound, visceral, grounding. It's almost morbid: in the best and most beautiful way possible. 

The self-imposed understatement—as misunderstood among all the magistrally-creased, forever-unworn, remotely-forgotten, hanger-molded pieces—is the reflection of the current state-of-affairs (at a cosmic level). The Family as “comfort-memories” comes in handy when in need of perspective. The non-steamed fabrics suggest travel, while the lace recalls sleepless nights and dreams. And because there is still Poetry, somewhere there is Willingness. So let it be! Let there be this taste of Roma: the drama and the reality of the streets, the inherited traditions and superstitions. The heart, the tragedy, the guilt and some well planned mistakes.

I would layer the transparent lace tops with underwear and I would probably avoid the hairy shoes. I prefer a beanie doubled-up with a cowboy hat to the French beret; but I would buy it almost in its entirety if I could, accessories and jewelry included. It's exquisite. It's not a vintage take: it's the reflection of a wardrobe constructed through years. There is passion, nostalgia, awareness. It takes you back to the roots and the history of Italy—of Rome—it's the essence of the most amazing Roman girl, a well spoken one.

Alessandro Michele was born in Rome (Deo Gratias!) 42 years ago. You can feel it. He worked for Fendi as the Senior Accessories Designer and at Richard Ginori as the Creative Director. He has been at Gucci since 2002, working as the Associate to the Creative Director, Frida Giannini, since 2011. The only two collections under his watch depict a very recognizable style and a consistent bold aesthetic. The substance is there, despite what the "biblical" sources of fashion tell you. And the elegance ... Amore, if you can't see that you really need those new Gucci frames and a good doctor. 

Ave Ale!

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images from Gucci.com

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