Gucci. Where does one even begin? This Italian house of high-end fashion has in the last decade enjoyed one of the biggest re-branding exercises any fashion label has ever seen (and lived to tell the tale, anyway), but there's something lost amongst the sequins and contrasting colours that was so adeptly gained just a few years prior and with seemingly so much more hard work.
To understand why such a successful company can create such hideous clothes and get away with it, first consider why you've even heard of Gucci in the first place. They're not exactly the newest kid on the block to sell expensive clobber – but they sure as hell didn't get there with tiger-emblazoned sweatshirts and furry slippers. Look back to a time when a young, ambitious and talented designer by the name of Tom Ford was employed as Gucci's Creative Director. It was 1994, and they were almost bankrupt.
By 1996, sales had increased by almost 90 per cent. What was a stale, un-invigorated fashion label became instantly masculine and relevant – almost overnight, literally. In just a few short years, it was worth an estimated $4 billion – a large chunk of which by this stage was owned by Ford himself. The brand grew and grew, every season saw Ford's work celebrated more and more – fellow designers, fashion writers – sat up and paid attention. He set the trends and made garments that were clothing as much as they were high-end fashion. He also brought back the suit for the modern man, steering the lines away from the boxy double-breasted cuts of the early 90s and slimming the shoulders and tapering the trouser legs just slightly.
And yes, there were more garish pieces too – it wouldn't be Gucci without them, right? But these were just as welcomed for their focus on flattering lines and simple composition. They weren't the sparkly, plastic glitzy bullshit espoused by the fashion house today.
Look, I'm not a fashion writer, but I know what I like, and every time I see a bloke wearing something from Gucci's latest collections, I cringe. Usually before bursting into laughter. Tom Ford may have left Gucci, and fuck knows why they'd throw his winning formula in the bin and start making what can only be described as day-pyjamas for cashed-up Asians, but he does have his own label you know. If you're ever tempted to buy those furry slip-ons, or literally anything from their current collection, walk out, find a Tom Ford store, get yourself a nice suit and remember that real men don't wear clothes that look like they've been vomited on by a hybrid of crayons and sequins over one of grandma's jumpers.