Happiness is to be found when in pursuit of it, in the soothed expectation, on the way, not only upon the arrival. Accepting detours, just going the way, which is anyhow not this obvious to anyone.
Thomas Bettinelli

Happiness is just a hairflip away.
Chris Crocker


"The way the system works now, you see the clothes, within an hour or so they're online, the world sees them. They don't get to a store for six months. The next week, young celebrity girls are wearing them on red carpets. They're in every magazine. The customer is bored with those clothes by the time they get to the store. They're overexposed, you're tired of them, they've lost their freshness".
Tom Ford



Gucci has been named one of the "hottest" luxury brands, while Prada is "cooling" fast, according to a new report by Exane BNP Paribas. The financial services firm assessed the “brand temperature” of luxury companies, based on the ratio between the editorial coverage they receive in print magazines, and their print advertising spend. Brands are ranked as "hot" if magazines give them more editorial space than their advertising spend should warrant, meaning they have more editorial coverage than print magazine advertisements -reflecting a "hot" level of appeal and desirability- whereas brands that fall below this ratio are "cold". Gucci’s editorial value was up more than 15% for the first six months of the year, compared to the same period last year. Louis Vuitton and Chanel both also ranked as "hot", but their editorial value grew at a lower rate of between 0 and 15 percent, despite a high print advertising spend. Meanwhile, Prada saw a decline in editorial print coverage, lowering its editorial value by double digits, which meant its brand temperature had cooled compared to last year. The findings are further proof that Gucci's turnaround under creative director Alessandro Michele and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri is gathering pace. Since his appointment as creative director in January 2015, Gucci’s new idiosyncratic designs have generated significant buzz. Sales of his women’s ready-to-wear have risen 66% in 2016 and the Italian house is on course to top €4 billion ($4.5 billion) in revenue for the first time this year. Meanwhile, Prada is battling weakening demand in Greater China, slowing global tourism and changing consumer behaviour. The Italian company has failed to meet its own earnings forecasts in 11 of the past 12 quarters, according to Bloomberg.
The 10-cent word that defined this season's Gucci show was recontextualization. Is a granny's pussy-bow blouse still a pussy-bow if a willowy teenage boy is wearing it ? Or is it, as the show notes claimed, "a renewal of possibility"? The slightly impenetrable tone of those notes actually echoed the Situationists, the French anarcho-philosophers who were so inspirational to Malcolm McLaren in his creation of the Sex Pistols. And a similarly transgressive instinct was operating on the Gucci catwalk. Alessandro Michele has brought a radically different culture to Gucci. The venue spoke volumes. No more the chilly space on Piazza Oberdan with its angular benches. Instead, we trooped to the outskirts of Milan to a ramshackle shed that was once the Farini railway station (the rails still running away into roof-height weeds). And we sat on spindly little chairs lacquered Chinese red. One might have expected a pipe of opium rather than the flute of prosecco that was served of old. How perfectly would such an additive have suited the silken languor of the collection. If it isn't exactly new, the magpie sensibility of Alessandro Michele's Gucci -scouring time, place, and gender for scraps- has a Marmite impact : love it or hate it. That, in itself, is punk. So is the designer's ardent faith in the power of youth. Asked about the religious symbolism in his collection, he talked about, "the young generation as the real saints of the new world". Tattooing, piercing, decorating themselves in a new kind of geography of the body -Michele takes all of these as youthful tokens of a new shamanism. And that certainly added a significant gloss to a collection in which decoration was a more accessible notion than recontextualization. Or maybe they went hand in hand. Like the shirt in flesh-toned lace garlanded with embroidered roses. Or the pale blue leather biker heavy with studs, elaborately tattooed with birds and flowers, and paired with gold silk pants. Or the lavish green silk robe with the fur cuffs. If there was a masculine heart to each of those items, the defining details were eccentric old-ladyish. And this was Alessandro Michele's most thrillingly audacious proposition. When he spoke about the young, he insisted he meant a state of mind, rather than a chronological point in time. "The very young and the very old want to be free", he clarified. And youth and age are both so much more liberating than that long, put-upon stretch in between. That rather begged the question about why he didn't make his show an all-ages proposition. "It's easier to communicate the message on young models", he answered, "but we are all young". Anyway, that was a credible rationale for granny-ish touches like ruffled collars, crocheted ruffs, and what looked like a doily draped around one young man's throat. Fans of Gucci's jet-set heritage need not look away. There were some perfectly credible pieces that honored the past. One trenchcoat married Gucci's most iconic pattern to sumptuous floral embroidery. A python coat was happily left as was. A suede coat over checked pants had a Helmut Berger flair. Caveat : the trousers were flared and elongated into puddles on the floor. The shoes, longtime fundament of the Gucci business, were another matter all together. Glittery gillies featured the classic Gucci stripe, but they also boasted fierce-some spikes on the ankle. In fact, all the shoes did, even at their most luxuriously gilded. Détournement pursues a new idea of beauty. And here it was, lush but confrontational.

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