Courtesy of Gucci

Alessandro Michele stretched the boundaries of fashion for Gucci’s annual cruise show, titled “Cosmogonie.” It refers to the theory of how the universe began and debuted under the night’s sky in Puglia, Italy, at the Castel del Monte. The castle is a gothic, 13th-century architectural masterpiece built on the Andria’s high grounds, making it optimal for stargazing, which is fitting, considering Gucci gifted adopted stars for its show’s attendees. It was an unexpected gesture on behalf of the Italian fashion brand, but we know to expect the unconventional with Michele at the helm.

Michele’s primary inspiration for “Cosmogonie” was philosophy, from the German philosopher Walter Benjamin to Hannah Arendt. The goal was to communicate how thoughts and theories are interconnected, like the constellations in the sky. This thesis mirrors Alessandro Michele’s approach to fashion. The designer is known for pulling robust visual markers from different eras, places, stories, and subcultures to create Gucci’s specific visual language–one that the Italian fashion house has been speaking since naming him creative director in 2015.

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The clothes in the Gucci Cruise 2023 show didn’t veer from Michele’s signature stylistic direction. They are a pastiche of visual references from old Hollywood to the ’70s. Mod hypnotic patterns such as polka dots, stripes, and swirls were sprinkled throughout the collection as well as sheer textiles and glove accessories. Historical references to the collection’s stage, Castel del Monte, were also included. Michele placed ruffs worn by royals during the Elizabethan period as collars and bracelets on the models. He also reimagined the Victorian lace-up boot to an over-the-knee height. One could easily imagine these royalty inspired accoutrements worn by those who originally walked the castle’s halls.

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Michele also tapped into his cosmic theme for “Cosmogonie” throughout the collection. A highlight from the show includes a model swathed in a blue velvet gown embellished with a constellation pattern. The look was accessorised with yellow gloves and topped with a dramatic frilled collar and pearl choker. Other accessories and textiles throughout the collection, like the twinkling ear-to-mouth cuffs and chainmail material, mirrored the star-speckled expanse of space. This nod to the universe’s origins reminds us of how Gucci celebrates limitlessness, from Michele’s habit of drawing from far-flung references to create his collections to the fashion house’s ever-evolving style. Gucci’s philosophy is clear: fashion isn’t just clothing. It’s like the universe, connected to everything.