Fashion Week

Last Look: Gucci and No. 21

Beauty for beauty’s sake is redrawing the fashion atlas at Milan Fashion Week. Gucci, in the words of designer Alessandro Michele, transformed clothes “into psycho-geographic maps capable of recording the urban unconscious” in a riotous visual display of glitter, imagery and breathtaking craft. Meanwhile, Alessandro Dell’Acqua juxtaposed fragility with rigidity in his beauty-gone-awry collection for No. 21.

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Gucci’s Michele created a surreal landscape—both urban and emotional—with a parade of Renaissance-inspired looks set against the backdrop of an industrial open-air train depot. The Carte de Tendre, Madeleine de Scudéry’s 1654 imaginary land charting the complexities of love, surfaced on a slim, silken dress with a plunging neckline and again on a pleated A-line skirt. Sheerness took on next-level delicacy in frothy pastels with barely there ruffles. Snakes, another recurring motif, offered a darker counterpoint, slithering up the thigh of ankle pants.

Shop: current season Gucci

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No. 21 took beauty in a somewhat more dreamlike direction (albeit a dream bordering on the dystopian) that pulled inspiration from the far-reaching eras of photographers Corinne Day and Tina Modotti. Rebellion and toughness balanced heaps of lace, pretty pastels and Latin American–inspired decorative ruffles, all skewed toward disorder. A workwear jumpsuit came in all lace. A mock-neck pullover hosted strips of ribbon, pompoms and frill. Sheer and cinched dresses in pinky-nude tones revealed a smoking cigarette print upon closer inspection.

Shop: current season No. 21

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