While New York Fashion Week was notably absent of athletic shoes, Gucci kicked off Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday with a fall ’19 show that reinforced its hold on the fashion sneaker.
Some were on-foot, while others were held in models’ hands as they walked a mirrored runway in a room set with more than 120,000 LED lightbulbs that created a giant prism (making Instagram shots both epic and challenging). The collection, which was again presented as a co-ed show, proved that creative director Alessandro Michele could veer his maximalist aesthetic into something simultaneously more commercial and even darker.
The darkness was seen mostly in the accessories; on dangerously spiky collars, headdresses and harnesses, plus gilded “Phantom of the Opera”-like partial face masks — the latter of which appeared to be a neutral update to last season’s knit balaclavas, which were the subject of scrutiny in recent weeks after a version resembling blackface popped up on the brand’s website.
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Meanwhile, commercial pieces included versatile trench coats, a fair share of androgynous tailoring, plus the aforementioned sneakers, which came in a humbler shape than previous versions and had none of the glitz of fall ’18’s Flashtreks, with their removable crystal harnesses. Aside from an updated Gucci logo on the side, some neon piping and dirty laces, the shoes were remarkably more subdued than previous seasons.
Legwear continued to be a strong accent on all looks, in the form of bright lace, mostly paired with peep-toe heels. Other footwear included suede knee boots in saturated raspberries and reds, and a pair of banana yellow patent leather boots with deep zippers down the front, a silhouette that may gain traction.