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Man, what a year it was for luxury fashion.

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For the past few months, you’d be hard-pressed to find a fashion enthusiast who’s not a fawning over Gucci’s Alessandro Michele — which is a rare in the industry, especially for someone who just joined the scene.

Maybe it’s because they know that, in the traditional sense, Michele has paid his dues to the industry and risen the ranks slowly and tirelessly. Before being appointed creative director in January 2015, he worked for Gucci for 14 whole years. Or maybe he has kept proving that there’s no denying that he’s the creative genius, especially with his position as head of accessories.

This year, his designs shifted the dominant fashion aesthetic from stark and minimalist to “more is more is more”.  It earned him rave reviews and top awards from the most prestigious councils, while creating fans out of all those who watched. They were part of pop culture’s most iconic moments. In turn, the brand kept up by maintaining social channels and an e-commerce site that showcased them beautifully. By combining the power of creative excellence and digital power play, Gucci sales have increased by double digits since January.

So, how did Gucci slay 2016? Brands, pay attention.

via Vogue

Just shy of a year after his very first Gucci runway show, in Milan, Alessandro Michele debuts his Menswear Fall 2016 collection in January. Similar to his previous menswear lineups, it’s ’70s and feminine yet it’s comparatively bolder. Taking slaying to the next level, Beyoncé releases the video for “Formation,” which includes several looks from the Gucci Spring 2016 collection and Lady Gaga rocks a red Gucci suit at the Superbowl in US. Simultaneously, The Gucci Ready-to-Wear Fall 2016 collection hogs praise and excitement with its unique collaboration with famed graffiti artist GucciGhost (aka Trevor Andrew). In India, we saw Rasna Bhasin and House of MISU showing their support for the epic collaboration.

Taking it several steps further, Gucci takes gender fluidity to the next level by announcing plans to combine its menswear and womenswear shows with its Fall 2017 collections. As a result, Kering (Gucci’s parent company) announced that the brand saw a 3.1 percent increase in sales in the first quarter of 2016. Michele magic?

In May, GQ described Michele’s next collection “absolutely bonkers in the best way.” So what was it? Michele walked his 87-piece English–inspired Menswear Cruise 2017 collection in London’s Westminster Abbey. Further pushing the personalization facet sweeping the luxury market, Gucci DIY was launched as a service that lets customers customize its bags with monograms, patches and more.

Happy news for all, Michele takes home the Designer of the Year award at the GQ Men of the Year Awards and Gucci’s comparable sales have increased by 7 percent. “I received a lot of awards this year,” Michele says. Soon after, Third-quarter earnings reveal Gucci’s first double-digit sales growth since 2012: 17 percent, 50 percent of which came from online sales.

In July 2016, Gucci really blew our digital-obsessed minds. Gucci uses Snapchat Storytelling to launch its #24HourAce campaign: 24 artists who created 60-second films inspired by Gucci’s famed Ace shoe have the opportunity to take over the brand’s Snapchat for an hour to promote their piece. Gloss tells us, “The 2016 L2 Digital IQ Index is released, proclaiming Gucci the year’s digital leader in the luxury space. The report highlights its successful e-commerce, digital marketing and social media initiatives, as well as its smart investments in shoppable style guides and lookbooks.

‘In 2016, Gucci presented an array of intelligent investments that enhance the overall digital aptitude of the brand and present a strong base for future success,” said Amay Makhija, a research associate at L2. Building on its digital-centric reputation, it releases a holiday campaign via a “Gucci Garden” video that references the Garden of Eden.’”

Slaying with the power of astute creativity and carefully planned digital presence, Gucci won our hearts in 2016. So, tell us the secret, what plans for 2017?

—by the B*

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