By COLLEEN BARRY
AP Fashion Writer
MILAN (AP) — Gucci offered another January surprise to kick off Milan Fashion Week menswear previews on Friday, taking a new direction after Alessandro Michele’s exit as creative director.
Very much like Michele’s low-key debut eight years ago heading an in-house team, the Gucci runway show heralding the new post-Michele era was an understated affair, quietly recasting the codes of the brand founded in Florence more than a century ago as a luggage company.
Under Michele, fantasy took flight with ever-escalating showmanship and layers of embellishment in romantic collections that blurred gender barriers and intellectually challenged the fashion crowd with notes referencing sometimes obscure thinkers.
Those embellishments have been stripped, at least for now, with an easy-to-read collection.
Some highlights from Friday’s shows:
Gucci launched its post-Michele era with a palette-cleansing collection that carried whiffs of his influence, but which went in a strikingly new, and spare, direction.
Stripped of eccentricity, the collection returned Gucci to a set of basics with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe underpinned by a live performance by U.S. guitarist Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog in the center of the circular theater. Front-row guests included Nick Cave with his wife Susie, Canadian actor Percy Hynes White, who appears in the Netflix hit “Wednesday,’’ U.K. actor Idris Elba and South Korean singer Kai.
The core look included oversized jackets with papery tops worn with trailing trousers or long-johns leggings tucked into bright cowboy boots, accented with leg warmers. The color palette was subdued, denim and khaki, gray and canary yellow, purple with ice blue.
There were still genderless references, but they were more glam rock than necessarily for the they/them demographic. A poet shirt had a deep, sexy V but no pussy bow; T-shirts and mohair sweaters were sheer and long skirts appeared deconstructed from trousers, and were paired with striped rugby shirts.
Many of these looks would have fit in on Michele’s runway, but they surely would have been layered with ideas, memories and recollections expressed through quirky motifs and elaborate accents. The new collection, with its elongated, roomy silhouette and masculine edge, seen in oversized mechanic jumpsuit and motorcycle combos, will be an easier fit for many.
The collection was designed by the in-house team, which took no bows after the show.
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