Who can really say where Alessandro Michele’s mind goes when he is designing? For Fall 2019, it seems to have taken a journey to the dark side. Or maybe just the darker side. This is Gucci, after all. Darkness is as much a part of the brand’s identity these days as green and red stripes. This season, however, there was a distinct horror movie vibe to the collection with its fetishistic spiked collars and face plates, slasher-movie-murderer masks, and general macabre creepiness.
There’s always so much to unpack in a Gucci show that it is sometimes best just to go through look by look, taking each surreal outfit as it comes. We won’t be doing that here. Not entirely, anyway. The show included nearly 90 looks and writing about every single one — let alone reading that writing — would soon grow tedious. So, instead, let’s take a closer look at a handful of particularly choice outfits and then you can feel free to wander through the rest of the collection on your own at the end.
1. The Opening Salvo
Michele and company began the show with a new take on Gucci’s iconic monogram print, found here on a boxy, peplumed coat dress with spiked leather suspenders. The spiked black face mask, like the suspenders, had obvious fetishistic flair, but the silver brush in the model’s hand was perhaps the kinkiest element of the entire ensemble. With her hair pulled back under her spiked headpiece, it couldn’t possibly be intended for her hair. Maybe, instead, it is a kinky paddle for an upscale S&M client? The same client she stole that black necktie from, perhaps? Maybe there is something sexy hidden under that dowdy coat? A mini cat-o-nine-tails in that prim little black bag?
2. Preteen Jason Voorhees
It’s like Jason took the hockey mask and added some hockey pads under a leather moto jacket he bought at the local Goodwill. And the pants — baggy and pleated as they are — definitely could have been passed down from an older brother, or perhaps were left in his parents’ closet when his dad skipped out on the family? I don’t know much about this particular horror movie franchise, so your guess is really as good as mine. But you see what I mean, right?
3. Down-on-His-Luck Vampire Lestat
A handful of foppish vampires haunt every Gucci runway, but this one is a bit more undone than in seasons past. The glamorous Old World air is there, but it starts to but it starts to disintegrate as you move down — the coat is unfinished, loose threads all about, the shirt cuffs are tattered, the pants are unhemmed, and the sneakers look like they were lifted from a church charity shop. This is obviously a vampire with taste and refinement, but it’s possible that bloodsucking isn’t paying the bills like it used to.
4. “The Hunger” Revisited
Doesn’t this look like something John (David Bowie) or Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) would have worn in that 1983 vampire noir, The Hunger?
5. The Kid From “Room” (If He Never Made His Escape)
There is something so disturbing about the naive quality of that sheep motif, like it was created by someone who had only ever seen sheep in books. You know, because they spent their whole like in one little room, closed off from the world. And the equestrian-printed silk shirt and high-water pants only serve to underscore the theme of a childhood arrested.
6. Disaffected Harry Potter
It’s sort of Harry Potter meets Jarvis Cocker of Pulp by way of 1001 Arabian Nights. Not exactly horror, but definitely a little off. That kid is up to some black magic for sure!
7. And Speaking of Kids…
Doesn’t this look like there could be two or three kids hiding under that coat, sitting on each other’s shoulders, like a real-life Vincent Adultman from Netflix’s Bojack Horseman? Again, not exactly a horrror reference, but that is one dark and twisted show, so…
8. Patrick Bateman (On the Inside)
Maybe it’s just me, but when I saw this look, the first thing I thought of was Patrick Bateman from “American Psycho.” But it’s not the slick, sexy Bateman as he presents himself in the movie. Rather, it is his inner self, falling apart, coming undone, a little gremlin on his head preparing to rip his head and his sanity to pieces.
9. This Dude
There is no way that bag doesn’t have a severed head in it.
10. All the Rest
At the end of the day, you gotta give it up to Alessandro Michele. His vision may be strange and twisted, but it’s never boring, or pretentious, or one-note, or overly self-serious. It’s fashion for people who love fashion. And this particular collection is going to give everyone a lot to think about and talk about in the months to come.