"What will Michele do next?" was the question on every editors mind at MFW. Fashion's newest wunderkind credited with reinvigorating the house of Gucci has coined the current aesthetic of bower bird-esque piling on, clashing fabrics and vintage references topped with spectacles, finished with an air of opulence - and his A/W '16 presentation (watch the show here) was no exception.
From show notes that referenced experimental composer David Tudor, philosopher theorists Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to Creative Director Michele's self-described theme of "Rock 'n' roll Renaissance, 1980s Renaissance, street-style Renaissance, bourgeois Renaissance, chinoiserie Renaissance," as he told press backstage, the whole thing was always going to be a slightly mad high-low clash.
In practise, this meant a spectacularly printed ballgown (of tessellating cherubs, but of course) styled casually with sunglasses and a beret, tromp l'oeil cartoon collars printed onto dramatic - though, candy-coloured - capes, dropped leg-of-mutton sleeves realized in heavy sequins or a tulle ballgown in sherbert shades sinking into a multicoloured maribou feather-trimmed hem. This, amongst patchworked snakeskin, Chinoiserie, Victorian details, American varsity inspiration, gold brocade, sequins and hussar embroidery were just drops in the ocean of the magic and madness that Michele weaves into each collection.
Continuing with the chic study of the beau-monde - albeit slightly more frayed - Think: Mick and Keith in Marrakesh and Courtney Love anywhere in the '90s - Roberto Cavalli and No.21 took a louche, devil-may-care approach to luxury for their collections.
Where Gucci's gentry were lounging around in stately, turn-of-the-century interiors, Cavalli's were hanging out backstage in swaths of rock luxe silks, velvet, embroidered denim and lurex - signatures of newly-appointed Creative Director Peter Dundas fresh from the flamboyant, gypset stylings of Emilio Pucci while No.21-ers were front and centre, rocking out in patchworked furs in leopard print, tobacco and jungle green, grungy plaids, vintage floral slip dresses and Malibu-esque prints of palm trees and beach vistas.
Palm trees proved something of a trend, anchoring Fausto Puglisi's athletic, track-star/cowboy/SoCal romance - if such a thing could exist! - deconstructed into trippy tee prints, embroidered onto bomber jackets, colour-blocked dresses, biker sleeves and sprouting out of skirt slits. The graphic collection championed bold colours, anchored by equally bold footwear from two-tone cowboy boots (sure to be an A/W '16 staple) and Dr. Martens to fetishist lace-up, over-the-knee boots and multi-strap gladiator styles that also crept thighwards with belt ties left provocatively undone.
Following this brief workout, when our aristo girl begins to think of more low-key pursuits, she would perhaps slip into something from Alberta Ferretti's collection. Described in the show notes as, "A world filtered by dreams, fantasies and aspirations," the collection was an almost literal homage to sleepwear (that one would never sleep in, of course - however, lounging may be permitted) littered with velveteen robes, printed silk pajama suits and lacy slip dresses, made boudoir-to-bar appropriate with luxurious fur capelets, skirts and jackets that Ferretti paired them with. Happily, her signature feather-light, floating silk dresses made an appearance, in soft saturations of grey, taupe, rouge and seafoam, sprinkled with embroidery of fairytale fauna and flora - sweet dreams indeed.