The Exclusive: Gucci + Mr Porter

In the latest edition of The Exclusive, we explore the eccentric world of the Italian house with this exclusive capsule collection:
It’s not enough to say that Mr Alessandro Michele has transformed Gucci into the hottest, most desirable label on the planet. His impact on the way we dress has been far more profound than that. Good designers change the way we think about a brand; great ones change the way we think about clothes. Mr Michele, a 45-year-old designer from Rome who worked behind the scenes at Gucci for a decade before succeeding Ms Frida Giannini on 21 January 2015, is firmly in the latter camp. His trademark more-is-more aesthetic, dubbed “maximalism” by the fashion press, has won innumerable followers and spawned a legion of imitators. It has brought to an end an era of austerity in the fashion industry and ushered in a new age of embellishment. This spring, he upended the traditional, gendered industry model by unveiling the brand’s first joint men’s and women’s collection. The critics, as usual, were falling over themselves to lavish Mr Michele’s work with praise. But the real proof of his impact has been on the bottom line. Last month, it was revealed that Gucci’s sales for the first quarter of 2017 had jumped year-on-year by a scarcely believable 48 per cent.

In his two-and-a-half years as creative director of the brand – only two-and-a-half? – Mr Michele has overseen a reinvention so radical it’s hard to remember what it was like before he arrived. What was Gucci before the kangaroo-lined loafers, exotic tiger-print silk shirts and embroidered denim? How did we describe it, if not with adjectives such as wild, flamboyant and eccentric? Like an avant-garde interior decorator charged with renovating a stately home, Mr Michele has taken one of the world’s most illustrious fashion houses – a company founded in 1921 – and somehow made it feel entirely new.

Now, a 43-piece capsule collection available exclusively on MR PORTER offers up a buyer’s digest of Mr Michele’s radically expressive interpretation of Gucci. Its 11 looks touch on many of the themes he has introduced during his tenure, from animal motifs and lavish embroidery to vintage-inspired tailoring. Primarily, though, this is a collection about colour, and lots of it. Standout items include a mimosa-yellow satin tracksuit printed with tonal blue GG cubes and a bright blue hoodie trimmed with white faille, green velvet and orange piping and embroidered with a roaring tiger motif. Taken as a whole, the collection represents perhaps the purest expression to date of Gucci’s new, maximalist design ethos – and offers proof that in the world of Mr Michele, more really is more.

To mark the launch of this major new collaboration, MR PORTER created a short film, The Keys, which imagines the world of Gucci as a sequence of rooms, each corresponding to a different colour: blue, red, yellow and green. Watch it, then scroll down to learn more about the clothes, all of which are available to shop now.

Embroidered denim has been one of Gucci’s biggest hits during Mr Michele’s tenure. This pair is adorned with elaborate floral designs and tiger motifs. A navy blue Cambridge blazer features subtle piping in Gucci’s signature colours of red and green, and the horsebit leather loafers are embroidered with Mr Michele’s lucky number, 25.

With its navy tipping, this Marco suit in a burgundy houndstooth check echoes quirky collegiate style. It’s worn here with a shirt and tie – two of the most understated items in the entire collection – under a green knitted vest decorated with skulls and roses. The green Derby shoes are appliquéd with pink flowers and blue bows, and feature Gucci’s trademark webbing trims in navy and red.

One of the most striking pieces in the collection – indeed, one of the most striking pieces ever to have been made available on MR PORTER – this satin tracksuit is printed all over with GG Wallpaper, a classic Gucci design that has been reinvented in a bold new colour. Striped sleeves and a knitted collar, cuffs and hem add a sporting dash to this eye-popping design.

Clashing shades of tangerine-orange and mimosa-yellow create a pleasing dissonance here. Add the beaded tiger embellishment and “future” slogan on the loopback-cotton sweater, and you have a look that’s not for the faint of heart. The Brixton slippers in Gucci’s GG Wallpaper print have soft, collapsible heels, so you can step in and out of them with ease.

With white faille and green velvet piping along the arms and bright orange hood, cuffs and hem, this blue jersey zip-up hoodie was a serious style statement before any embellishment was added. It’s worn here with a modern Gucci classic, the shearling-lined, backless leather loafer. This Princetown version is in bottle-green leather and comes with double-G buckles and signature striped webbing.

Bold paisley print, sporting details and intricate embroidery clash delightfully with this artful jersey bomber jacket, which features red and navy velvet panels, red and green passementerie trims and ribbed collar, cuff and hems. You will have noticed it in The Keys film worn with a shirt and tie, green piped tracksuit trousers and robust tan leather boots.

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