I talk about Gucci a lot in my new book. When I wrote my first book, “Cosmically Chic,” I assigned Gucci to Capricorn. That was because Tom Ford was still in charge at the Italian label. In “Star Struck Style,” I assign Tom Ford to Capricorn and Gucci to Pisces.
Of course, Alessandro Michele’s radical reinvention of the storied Italian brand is the reason for this cosmic shift. Tom Ford’s Gucci was sexy, witty and made for grown-ups. Alessandro Michele’s Gucci is courting another customer altogether.
In the vogue.com review of yesterday’s Gucci show in Milan, Sarah Mower described the runway like this:
“A procession of transhumans, walking in trancelike step through a suite of operating theaters: Bolted together from the clothing of many cultures, they were Alessandro Michele’s metaphor for how people today construct their identities — a population undergoing self-regeneration through the powers of tech, Hollywood, Instagram, and Gucci. ‘We are the Dr. Frankenstein of our lives,’ said Michele. ‘There’s a clinical clarity about what I am doing. I was thinking of a space that represents the creative act. I wanted to represent the lab I have in my head. It’s physical work, like a surgeon’s.'”
Yet all I saw were Frankenstein’s monsters in the age of social media: people so desperate to be noticed that they convince themselves that desperation and style are the same thing.
I don’t have a lot of Pisces in my chart, but I do have Saturn in Pisces in the fifth house. Maybe that throws a wet blanket on this sort of self-expression for me. Or maybe I just don’t see the point of drawing attention to one’s self by trying to look like a kid who went crazy in a thrift store. I understand “thrift store chic” and the desire to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. In fact, I instruct Pisces natives to cultivate their innate creativity. But doing it in garments that cost as much as a month’s rent (or a year’s rent in some cases) is insane.
When I was sixteen years-old, I would have gone nuts over this show. It really does speak to those kids who are discovering fashion for the first time and making all the mistakes that eventually inspire the rest of us to broaden our own horizons regarding how to put things together. The biggest strength of Pisces individuals is to mix-and-match items in a manner that turns the fashion establishment on its pretentious head. But even the poorest kid can do that. It doesn’t take money to be creative.
The last time I was in a Gucci boutique, I marveled at a chiffon dress that was so meticulously-crafted that it took my breath away. I didn’t bother to ask how much it was, but I can guess that it had a mid-four-figure price tag. For that reason, the people who are really wearing Gucci are “Real Housewives” and celebrities who get the clothes for free. Lots of the things they wear look great because once the garments are freed from their ridiculous runway styling, they are quite special.
But that’s not who this show is courting. It’s been styled to appeal to a generation of kids who believe that every selfie they post on Instagram or Snapchat is a moment to prove that they belong in the same club as the people who can actually afford to shop at Gucci. It has been a tremendously savvy business move for Gucci in the short-term, but it is terribly unsustainable in the long-term. The thing about kids is that they are the most-fickle consumers of all. When they get around to being able to afford their own clothes, they’re going to look back at Gucci and ask themselves “What the hell were we thinking?”
It happens. It’s happened to Gucci once before. Before the Tom Ford era, Gucci had become a rudderless ship adrift in the world of fashion (sort of like Ferragamo is today). Tastes will change, and kids will lead the way when a backlash against consumerism occurs, just like they did in the late sixties and the early nineties. If Gucci doesn’t adapt, it’s going to become lost at sea again.
You can’t be the establishment and be against the establishment. You can’t dress like you don’t care about how you look while posting photos online that draw attention to how you look.
To quote a word right out of Alessandro Michele’s own mouth, if Gucci doesn’t undergo a “regeneration” soon, I cannot see them sustaining their current business model. That’s the old man in me making a prediction, not the fashion astrologer.