Has any brand ever put on a show in a venue as august as Westminster Abbey? The most important building in gothic building in Britain, steeped in more than a thousand years of history, site of royal coronations and final resting place for 17 monarchs, it’s no ordinary location. In fact, the last time it saw so many fabulously dressed visitors was probably the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. But the bra is set high for cruise shows this season and so, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, Gucci made a little history of its own.
Salma Hayek at Gucci's cruise 2016/17 show held at Westminster Abbey in London
Of course, Alessandro Michele has been doing that since he took over as creative director 18 months ago, brining a cool vintage-inspired eccentricity to the formerly va-va-voom brand. His idiosyncratic vision has found fans in Sienna Miller, Cate Blanchett and Gwyneth Paltrow, sending sales soaring and inspiring a change in fashion consciousness as complete as that effected by Phoebe Philo at Céline. “If you have rules, you let creativity sleep,” he says.
Alexa Chung at Gucci's cruise 2016/17 show held at Westminster Abbey in London
Were anyone expecting a change of direction here, they would have been wrong. But disappointed? Not at all. Alessandro’s heirloom aesthetic – rich in reference, colour and texture, madly and gloriously embellished – seemed completely at home in Westminster Abbey’s stone cloiseters, as though a poem to its timeless beauty. (The show, it’s worth nothing, wasn’t in the actual church but behind it, in vaulted stone-flagged corridors lined with memorials to the great and good who are buried here.)
Elle Fanning at Gucci's cruise 2016/17 show held at Westminster Abbey in London
Alexa Chung at the Gucci cruise after party
Alessandro’s eye travelled far and wide across the years and miles. In the nicest possible way, everything was thrown into the mix – what emerged was a joyful homage to English eccentricity, which felt entirely of its own. Jolly good show.
- Via Harper's Bazaar UK