There was a sense, before the pandemic, that Alessandro Michele had fully evolved the look of Gucci—that his aesthetic was so well-established that Gucci was basically locked into producing eternal riffs on the rock ‘n roller magpie look. For the brand’s 100th anniversary show, however, Michele brought a bizarro new sophistication to his clothes, reworking a number of the brand’s classics, like Tom Ford’s velvet tux, into his own pagoda-shouldered masterpiece. The accompanying film was also a sweet but unsentimental look at how Michele’s Gucci kickstarted the gender-fluid fashion revolution. And on top of all that, Michele staged what he called the hacking project, taking up the signatures of his Kering sibling Demna’s Balenciaga and attacking them with the Gucci logo. In a time of self-serious collaborations, when brands slap their logos on each other’s stuff and talk moodily about creative ingenuity, it was a genuinely hilarious gesture.
But beneath all that razzle dazzle was sartorial innovation: if piled-on, ultra-fashion maximalism, with sweatshirts and sweatpants and sneakers woven through, has been the Michele signature, suiting is now the most exciting thing in his palette. His carrot-cut and soft-bell pants with feathery double-breasted jackets were some of the smartest pieces we’ve seen so far in the long-rumored tailoring revival, as wearable and relaxed as the designer’s track pants.
6. Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2022
Those in the know consider Marine Serre a soothsayer: the upcycling pioneer, the actual environmentalist, the model of designer who can create a hype hit (her moon print jersey pieces, which are such a part of TikTok style they’re practically a filter) while working on a much bigger picture. During the pandemic, she refocused her range of silhouettes, whittling them to key shapes that would make it easier for her team to use upcycled materials, and the clothes ultimately more affordable for her customers. That meant that her wild inventions (like a couture dress made out of a fleece bedspread) were missing for a few seasons, though she found a sublime balance for Spring 2022, whose primary upcycled materials were torchons, the dish towels beloved by French chefs, and white tablecloths. It made me imagine a world in which an elegant community of chosen family feed each other intellectually, spiritually, and physically, connected ultimately by a commitment to elegance. The collection also solidified Serre’s ability to lead a sustainability revolution (or at least revelation) led by aesthetics and sensations rather than moral panic.