Gucci Revives Paris’ Party Past for Spring Summer '19
Entering the dusty scarlet interior of Montmartre’s iconic Le Palace nightclub, anticipation for Alessandro Michele’s Spring/Summer ’19 collection for Gucci was veiled only by the whispered memories of Paris’s nightlife past, which seeped from the walls.
Constructed in the 17th century, Le Palace was a theatre and dance hall before it was transformed into a nightspot by Paris’ answer to Ian Schrager, Fabrice Emaer in 1978.
A hotbed of debauchery and dancing; Le Palace’s waitresses wore outfits designed by Thierry Mugler, Grace Jones famously performed “La Vie en Rose” on a pink Harley Davidson at the opening and – in its 80s hay day – it was a regular hangout for the likes of Jean-Paul Goude, Mick Jagger, Karl Lagerfeld, Andy Warhol and Roland Barthes.
Described by Barthes: “Le Palace wasn’t a club like the others. It gathered together in an original place pleasures ordinarily scattered.” It’s an interpretation which could as readily be applied to Michele’s magpie-esque creative process, which was on display in all it’s colour-saturated, pattern-soaked form last night.
Though the many celebrity attendees (Faye Dunaway, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek) and a mid-show performance by Jane Birkin added to the Night Fever feel, the collection itself borrowed as much from the glamour of Le Palace’s past as it did the wide-shouldered, nipped-waist silhouette of the seventies and eighties (a favoured inspirational stomping ground for Michele), and, as a consequence, bought enough high-octane glamour to keep the party going into the wee hours.
Leather jockstraps – adorned with Gucci’s double G logo and worn over suit trousers – smuggled some welcome quirk into the party; a magenta leotard worn beneath a wide-legged grey double breasted suit looked strangely chic (and not unlike something Mikhail Baryshnikov would have worn back in the day) while a pair of slinky python slacks, worn with a broad shouldered grey suit jacket and oversized aviators gave a surprise nod to Tom Ford’s tenure at the brand Michele now helms.
The best bit, in my opinion, came in the form of an immaculately-cut ice white Le Smoking, which – worn with oversized glasses a gigantic felt fedora and a shirt so ruffled it resembled a Swiss meringue – had the look of an early years Yves Saint Laurent suit (which, of course, is an excellent thing).
Many of the more bookish looks with which Michele has made his name over the past three years were there too, only this time round the designer didn’t place them centre stage (quite literally, as each model ended his or her walk on Le Palace’s ample apron). An oversized green corduroy suit felt nostalgic, while a series of preppy striped sweaters worn over buttoned-up shirts and knitted vests teamed with, well, y-fronts, were geeky.
Well, what’s a party without a few wallflowers to let the show-offs shine?