Soon after he took the head job at Gucci in 2015, Alessandro Michele set about pioneering a new, more comfortable kind of luxury. If there was no hope that fashion was going to abandon “athleisure” (#tbt!), Michele luxified it, turning our desire to wear slippers and sweatpants into a full-blown lifestyle of kangaroo fur-lined horsebit mules and silky, paisley print trousers, thousand-dollar sweatshirts, and tracksuits.
But Michele’s Wednesday Fall 2019 show in Milan—coed, as his shows always are, and the first since the company’s blackface scandal earlier this month—marked a shift. If past collections have featured high-flying garments like spangly gowns and seashell underwear, tempered with garments to kick back in, this show was much more about protection. His models wore kneepads (with the interlocking-G Gucci logo), nearly everyone had a collar or mask covered in inches-long spikes, and many wore hockey masks. There was padding and protection, but also menace (“Jason was my son….and today….is his birthday!”).