“It’s time for this brand to tell another story.” Said Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s current creative director during his interview for New York Times. Charismatic man that seems like Gandalf or Dumbledore mixed with an impressionist artist, just like Monet, paints his dreamy, colourful and bohemian visions on the canvas of current fashion world. At the same time, Miuccia Prada, 68-year old granddaughter of back then just a luggage company’s founder Mario Prada, sends legions of serious looking boys and girls down the runway in their nylon jumpsuits and futuristic sneakers.
“I left home at 18, which is very strange for Italians, because we’re very attached to our families(…)” said former Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci. This statement really makes sense when looking at big Italian fashion houses that still rule the world today. Prada is one of the brands that kept their business in the family, without any external directors being involved. Founded as a luggage company by Mario Prada in 1913, eventually ended up in his granddaughter’s hands in 1978. Ever since then Prada company kept on changing and evolving, at the same time staying loyal to its unique aesthetic.
That has not always been the case with Gucci though. Since the death of company’s founder in 1953 the brand has gone through many creative directors, including Tom Ford himself. Despite being one of the most important names in fashion, Gucci changed its vibe many times in the past, most recently transforming from kitschy, stereotypically luxurious designs to dreamy, nature inspired pop story with a royal vintage finish.
Unlike the most of Italian brands, Prada’s style is NOT about obvious sexiness. While Donatella Versace’s team throws another tight, silky red dress with golden hardware at some terrified Eastern European model and yells: wear it!!! Be a strrrrrong woman, Prada keeps doing her thing. Brand’s collections often include blacks, whites and beiges, as well as futuristic shapes and synthetic fabrics. It’s Miuccia Prada that started using military quality grade nylon to produce bags, in order to revolutionise the way we look at luxury.
Mrs Prada admits to dislike snobbery. Most of her designs don’t include an obvious reference to brand’s logo. At the same time though, you can’t walk past a person wearing something Gucci, without thinking: “Oh, wow, isn’t that Gucci that belt over there? I’m such a poor fuck”. Insects, butterflies, red snakes, cartoon ghosts, GG monogram… there are so many symbols that scream Gucci immediately, while at the same time, Prada is more about reversed snobbery, making luxury recognisable for only those who belong to so called elite and know the specific aesthetics.
Picture of Miuccia Prada
Because of non-aggressive branding, some interestingly themed designs Prada comes up with every season often get copied by high street brands without general public noticing the similarities. For example, Zara’s current collection which features comic book pages printed on garments such as shirts and tops is a direct copy of Prada spring/summer 2018 collection.
I am not saying Gucci doesn’t get copied. It does, at least twice more often. But general, Zara and H&M consuming public is more aware of how Gucci stuff looks like, while more old school luxury stays, well, old school, that actually stands for: unknown.
Unlike the boy who went to the moon and never came back, I mean Alessandro Michele, Miuccia Prada doesn’t consider fashion a form of art. “My job is to sell” she says. And, well, she does sell a lot. Despite her pieces being often impractical or just pure strange, Miuccia’s net worth is currently 6.8 billion dollars, which makes her the richest female designer alive.
The man who brought WAG’s favourite brand back to life is Alessandro Michele. At the beginning of his journey with Gucci, Michele was asked to design a replacement ready to wear collection in just five days.
He hasn’t been creating for Gucci for long, but already managed to come up with brand’s most recognisable image so far, and I’m not afraid to say that. And come on, his work helped him with making friends with Jared Leto and Lana Del Rey.
Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele
Despite being amazing at sales and designing wallets every gal and lad want, from Portsmouth to Stirling, Alessandro is responsible of some weird phenomenon, something I call high fashion appropriation.
Current Gucci is like a smoothie made of The Great Gatsby, fantasy stuff like World of Warcraft, 17th century’s aristocratic style, Rae Sremmurd, Supreme and a headache. From already iconic pieces like Ace sneakers or t shirts with a fake logo, to more extravagant outerwear and colourful knitwear. Alessandro Michele’s usage of colours is like a village girl on the prom night – good intentions, diamond heart, trying her best, excited and passionate… but the final effect – not necessarily good.
Gucci’s policy when it comes to brand reception is completely different from Prada’s. For them, the more people talk the better. Even if those people are not the real customers. Hip hop kids? Let’s go! Gucci Gang? Whatever that means! Belgian hipsters hungry for some dope specs and green Alice in Wonderland wool coat? Let’s give them that? Rappers wanting to look like they just shot 5 people outside their mansion? Why not!
Don’t get me wrong. Michele is a genius of his kind that makes pretty things and most importantly – does his job very well. One word: revenue.