If you’re not a fashion die-hard who's already well-acquainted with the man behind Gucci's latest renaissance, then it's time to become very familiar. His name is Alessandro Michele and he's coming for your closet. The designer's to-date collections for the storied Italian brand have already spawned a slew of must-have items regular guys and the rich and famous are gladly emptying their wallets for: kangaroo fur-lined slippers, colorfully embroidered jeans, animal intarsia sweaters. That's the type of menswear that's unordinary, to say the least—or used to be. Because it's undeniable that Michele's swervy point of view has had a massive influence on the fashion world and how people want to dress. Particularly for style-minded men, his genderless approach to clothes encourages experimentation with silhouettes and fabrics wholly uncommon in traditional menswear.
Which is all to say that Michele knows what he's doing. And if you want proof, just have a look at his latest 2017 men's Cruise collection. "This collection is dedicated to those men who are in love with their wardrobe. Men who like beautiful things and who like to wear different things or to wear formalwear differently," Michele noted of the 87-look blockbuster inspired by all things English (from Savile Row to schoolboy uniforms to punks and Carnaby Street dandies). "Every item or detail is precious, refined, nothing is left to chance," he wrote to us in an e-mail. It's a sentiment made crystal clear in the trims and embellishments—and in the case of denim, acid washing—found on just about every garment, accessory, and shoe. But focusing on just the bolder fare would be missing the point of Michele's approach, because despite the never-before-seen appeal of some pieces, he understands that menswear comes with a very defined set of traditions:
"The men’s wardrobe is like a ritual and I am fascinated by it and its codes. The codes are not to be cancelled, they have to be reinvented and repositioned in a different fresco. There is the part of formalwear which I consider like the father of all the different styles. There are some punk pieces which are the most romantic part of the collection. When you are punk you are romantic, because you want to break the rules. And then there is the preppy/street part which recalls college-wear and is thought for more relaxed moments. Each of these parts has its own codes and, as always, I enjoyed putting a sort of confusion among the different codes and languages."
Michele's Cruise collection doesn't necessarily subscribe to the traditional codes of modern luxury, either, where rarity and exclusivity reign supreme and refinement is supposed to trump flash every time. Yes, these clothes are bound to be pricey, but they also appeal to every taste along the menswear spectrum. Saying the sizable collection offers everything and the kitchen sink, in terms of sheer items to buy, is an understatement. And there are a lot of things we already have our eyes on for when the collection drops in October (every man alive needs a pair of those athletic-inspired striped socks). Check out the full lineup, photographed by Nick Waplington on an English countryside estate, below:
Source: GQ.com Photo: Nick Waplington