The fashion house triumphs on the runway at Milan Mens Fashion Week as they debut their Fall/Winter 2023 menswear collection.

The early noughties offer style inspiration in abundance, and it’s no wonder brands continue to mine in its history to craft the fashion magic of today. Gucci Fall 2023 hints at an easy-but-unexplored seam: not the loony, spirited layering beloved by many of us over the past seven years, but the uncertain, complex, poignant and indie-like counterpoint that has been bursting on the European runways for some time (apropos the likes of Celine and Saint Laurent).

The show’s notes cite “free impulses” as sources of creative conceivement; though Alessandro Michele, the house’s predecessor, was hardly a known fan of improvisation. He elaborated minimalism by maximising the extremes of a garment, quarrelling with archetypes and turning up the volume for his devoted clientele.

But Gucci’s pendulum has long tested the past, shaped the present and influenced the future: here, it all made for a current lineup with a smart visual appeal. The best in show included examples of sharp silhouettes, drawing in elements from rock with a live performance from Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog that emulated the wacky energy of the collection, building on elements from genres like jazz and punk inherent to musical improvisation. The group appears on a spherical stage around which the show takes place, a circular formation symbolic of the collaborative spinning wheel of the creative community which sits at the very core of Gucci’s ethos. Once again, that idea of intensity and boldness filtered through this season’s offerings which, in turn, elevated a modern uniform where proportion play was dramatically restrained. But for the most part, Gucci went for a loose tone, one communicated in everything from Crystal GG—a new lacquered interpretation of the house’s coated monogram canvas from the 1970s—sportswear informed by Gucci’s 1980s archives that evoked the codes of dance and motorcycling, paying tribute to archival pieces from the early 2000s or spliced with the sculpting of archetypal overcoats. Moreover, the collection features a magnified reinterpretation of the Jackie bag softened in construction and adorned with the Piston Lock originally created by Tom Ford for Gucci, in faded pastel crocodile editions.

The ensembles that were really emblematic though were evening trousers transformed into statuesquely-draped, floor-length skirts that reveal the legs in movement – working in a range of classic and functional pieces through the undercurrent of vintage references was a big hit of this season’s style lexicon. Again, a grit-yet-chic moment. All in all, it was another collection of brilliantly smart, fuss-free clothes, epitomising an extrapolation of a bone-chilling creative shift. These effects lean into a change which will be exciting to see. Indeed, fun may be the best resistance.

Chidozie Obasi