Gucci Sent a Baby Dragon Down the Runway, and That’s Not All

I wish I could wake up to new Gucci every morning, because frankly, I haven’t felt this invigorated since my inaugural sip of coffee in 2009. My entry point to the Fall 2018 collection was Stella Bugbee’s impressively chill Instagram video of a model carrying what appeared to be a baby dragon.

Yes, you read correctly. A baby dragon.

I say “impressively chill” in light of the unmistakable revelation that said baby dragon looks  real (like, fresh-from-a-dragon-egg real) and if I were sitting two feet away from a very real-looking mythical hatchling I probably would have panicked, dropped my phone and reached out to pet it.

Gucci eventually confirmed that the dragon was fake. Same goes for the iguana and the snake and the human heads and…oh, sorry, am I getting ahead of myself? I should probably slow down and unpack everything that happened in stages, for the good of humankind and the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Below, the five most bizarre things that happened during Gucci’s Fall 2018 runway show, followed by the five best. Believe me when I say there were plenty to choose from…

The 5 Most Bizarre Things That Happened at Gucci

1. The Invitation Was Extremely Suspenseful

Aside from the fact that it arrived in a ziplock bag, trimmed with what looked like cautionary tape, the invitation itself was a timer counting down (to the show, I want to assume?) in red digital numbers.

2. The Set Looked Like a Surgical Room

A creepy surgical room. A creepy surgical room in a horror story. A creepy surgical room in a horror story set in 2040. Am I setting the scene!?!?!!

3. Models Carried…All Sorts of Things

In addition to the aforementioned baby dragon, there was also an iguana, a snake and a couple of human heads. As if that wasn’t weird enough, the human heads were perfect replicas of the models’ who carried them. Talk about an identity crisis (sorry — had to).

4. A Sweater Referenced Russ Meyer’s Cult Favorite Film

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Quite the name for a movie, huh? This film is set in 1960s California and follows three go-go dancers who embark on a kidnapping-turned-murder extravaganza in the desert. I’m still in the process of analyzing why Alessandro Michele put it on a sweater. Check back with me in six months.

5. Faux Hanging Bags Moonlighted as Outerwear

A bunch of the models wore gauzy overlays that looked kind of like Gucci garment bags on top of their outfits. They reminded me of Moschino’s $735 plastic dry-cleaning bag dress. I’m very curious about whether they’re going to be sold separately.

The 5 Best Things That Happened at Gucci

1. Balaclavas Were the Accessory to Watch

I love when two great designers (in this case Raf Simons of Calvin Klein and Alessandro Michele of Gucci) have the same great idea at the same time. I wonder if it’s purely coincidence or if they sat down together for a clandestine coffee and came to the mutual decision that sweaters for faces would be the THING next fall.

2. Ugly Sneakers Got Even Uglier

Beyond simply huge and clunky and and deliciously unflattering, the dad sneakers Gucci sent down the runway were criss-crossed with these little crystal bungee cord seat belt things and paired with fancy lace tights, like they were on a black-tie cliff-jumping expedition or something. That familiar font is courtesy of Sega.

3. So! Much! Stuff! Was Bejeweled

Croakies! Training bras! Nipple tassels! Essentially a lifetime guarantee that if you want to sparkle in every crevice, you most certainly can.

4. Fanny Packs Did a 180

Models wore them backwards so they rested upon their actual fannies, which frankly makes much more sense. I haven’t been able to find a good photo online yet so if we can all kindly join forces on #GucciFanny180Watch, that would be much appreciated.

5. American Sports Merch Abounded

Baseball caps, blazers and sweaters were embroidered with “LA” and “NY,” like Gucci’s very own bicoastal athletic team.

I watched this movie-level production unfold via Vogue’s livestream, and by the time Michele took his bow, I thought he was going to climb aboard one of the dentist chairs and take a nap. It would have been much-deserved. This collection provided equal parts Instagram and mental fodder, which is really what any good show does in 2018, but I’m still thinking about what it all means: the dragons, the heads, the creepy surgical set, the styling (So much to unpack, both physically and philosophically, and I can’t wait to tie a silk scarf around the wrist of my raincoat).

It was almost as if Michele was submitting a draft for a fantasy world plucked from his own imagination, a bizarre and exciting sanctuary where anyone and everyone is invited (hence the multitude of style references to cultures across the globe, from New York Yankees caps to Sikh turbans to Japanese Kabuki masks). I am eagerly awaiting a glimpse at the show notes to glean more insight.

In an Instagram post, Tamu McPherson called the show an invitation to become our true selves. I love that take, because even though the clothes and the ideas have only just started to percolate, they already feel like an opportunity to let our freak flags flap with abandon.

Photos by Pietro D’aprano and Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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