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As the industry waits for owner Kering to appoint a new designer for the label, Gucci launched Milan Fashion Week on Friday with a lineup of slouchy, androgynous menswear styles.

Following the abrupt departure in November of Alessandro Michele, the flamboyant designer who was a favourite of Harry Styles and Lady Gaga, the French luxury group Kering is under pressure to quickly find a replacement and reignite sales growth at its largest brand, which accounted for two thirds of profits in 2021.

The Gucci megabrand’s first men’s presentation in the Italian fashion city in three years was overshadowed by the uncertainty of who will guide the company’s creative direction. Major retail buyers attending the events, which run through January 17, are assessing whether fashions might become future best-sellers.

At Gucci’s catwalk show on Friday, there were echoes of Michele’s unconventional, gender-fluid fashions. Models paraded oversize suit coats with wide lapels and ample, pleated trousers in pale beige and pastel tones as they circled a darkened room to the growling music of live band Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog. Mi Show notes, which buyers examine for clues about the label’s future plans, also made reference to improvisation and collaboration. 

The brand’s notes stated that collective expressions are created when the unfettered impulses of various minds converge.

The monochromatic ensembles, which were admired by celebrities in the audience like K-pop singer Kai, American football player Jalen Ramsey, and Italian rock band Maneskin, included quilted motorcycle boots and shimmery silver slacks.

chele’s reign included footwear with horsebit decorations and fluffy soles.