Gucci Cruise 2016: Stars Celebrate Alessandro Michele's New York Debut

Gucci Cruise - H 2015
Courtesy of BFA

Rachel Zoe and Sam Taylor-Johnson were among the beautiful people welcoming Gucci's new creative director to New York.

Why did Alessandro Michele want to bring Gucci’s latest Cruise collection to New York? “It’s the perfect reflection of a really beautiful mix of people, so it’s a really free way to think about fashion,” he told Pret-a-Reporter backstage after his Chelsea gallery-held runway show Thursday morning.

The private supper party hosted Thursday night by Michele and Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri at Bowery Bar & Grill undeniably attracted plenty of those beautiful people: Michael Avedon, Sophie Elgort, Chloe Malle and others gathered at the restaurant with its indoor/outdoor vibe (all the easier for the Italians to smoke, of course) to enjoy the antipasti and pizza menu by Roberta’s and watch Karen Elson perform a set with Jackson Smith in B Bar’s Club Room.

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Michele has worn the mantle of creative director at Gucci for less than six months; formerly the head accessories designer (the same path his predecessor, Frida Giannini, traveled into the role), this is only his second women’s collection for the label, yet it’s clear Michele already has garnered plenty of fans. “I love what Alessandro has done; he’s really shaken things up a lot, and it’s exciting,” said Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who noted he’s worn the label exclusively at recent events. “I love the tailoring in the suits, and the whole '70s vibe Alessandro brings. It’s going to be fun to watch him.”

Sam Taylor-Johnson, Aaron’s wife and the director of Fifty Shades of Grey and Nowhere Boy, agreed, calling this Cruise collection “really, truly creative and very free-spirited.” Fifty Shades star Dakota Johnson sat next to her director at the show earlier, and indeed seems to be an ideal muse for this collection, with its cunning, sometimes dizzying mix of color and embellishment, woven with just a touch of retro, ladylike vibe. “It’s all about Italian eccentricities, that kind of bourgeois beauty of the streets and the way young girls dress,” Michele explained. “There’s something really inspiring about a really crazy mix of nature and tigers and insects and beautiful fabrics and lace and Victorian beauty. It’s not about looking so grand; we wanted to have fun and play.”

The whimsy was appreciated, with Vogue’s Grace Coddington pronouncing the collection “just so charming, and it’s nice to see charm in fashion,” while Rachel Zoe loved both the color palette and the influences from the archives. “You really see the vintage Gucci in it, but in a completely different way than before,” she said. “It’s not as overtly glamorous and sexy — less glamazon, but still very modern. I think a lot of girls out there are going to be wearing it.”

Ultimately the party wasn’t so much a celebration of the Cruise premiere as it was a coronation of the man now overseeing Gucci’s creative vision. “It’s a big change, and there’s a certain freshness about that,” Coddington said, before adding that this New York event was also her first opportunity to meet Michele. “But I’m already a big fan.”