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  • Ella Noonan

Dragons and Dresses - Gucci A/W 18

Scrolling through my Instagram feed I was faced with the usual array of images; bronzed models with body proportions that defy the laws of physics, variations of breakfast foods, selfies from a friend of a friend who complimented my hair one time in a club toilet, and last but not least - a large helping of memes. So it was much to my surprise when I was partaking in my usual morning Insta ritual, only to discover a runway shot of a model holding what looked to be her own severed head.

After I'd recovered from the initial shock, I delved deeper to discover an eclectic mix of dragons, hospital beds, embroidery and bold printed balaclavas. This strange yet bizarrely cohesive assemblage of things was in fact the Gucci Fall/Winter collection. We've all seen collections that stop us in our tracks, whether it's for the physical quality of the garments, or the production of the show itself; in this instance it was a combination of both.

The show took place in the Milan HQ however this was not obvious from the way it had been decked out. The walls were covered in green panelling, the floor an insipid blue to mimic the interior of a hospital. Complete with surgical lamps, a hospital bed and plastic chairs like you'd find in a waiting room. Gucci wrote on their Instagram explaining the method behind the madness: " The concept reflects the work of a designer - the act of cutting, splicing an reconstructing materials and fabrics to create a new personality and identity with them." Cleverly thought out and an interesting break from the norm in terms of set dressing.

Being transported to a hospital to see one of the worlds most renowned fashion houses was just the beginning of the surreal series of events that unfolded. By collaborating with Makinarium Special effects, some of the models held eerily life like replicas of their own heads, as well as an extremely convincing baby dragon, a chameleon and the familiar red, black and white snake that features on some of their clothes. The entire show was a celebration of exceptional craftsmanship and artistry with absolutely nothing being skimped on.

Of course the props and the location of the show were a massive contributing factor in what made it so special, however this isn't to detract from what it's really about - the fashion. Different colours and textures of florals were unapologetically paired together along with checks and stripes; it was like an edgy 20-something had raided her nans wardrobe, pilfered her curtains, and then threw on a pair of trainers so she could run away before anyone noticed. Yet somehow it worked.

There was so much going on and each piece vastly different from the last, yet brought together as a collection through the sheer boldness of the designs as well as the choice of props and accessories. The colourful balaclavas were a personal highlight of mine, merging the anonymity and connotations of criminality yet immediately softened by pearlescent and sparkly jewellery, and delicate embroidery on the outfits.

The collection also featured collaborations with the New York Yankees, as this widley rocognised logo was emblazoned onto a number of the jackets and blazers. Seemingly classical pieces and textures were transformed into something more current and youthful.

Overall it's definitely a collection I won't be forgetting any time soon, and until I'm the owner of that baby dragon, I'm not sure I'll ever be truly satisfied with life.


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