As you make your way into the club, the air fused with sweat and scent hits you with blazing music with bodies gyrating and swirling with Abba’s Dancing Queen– as the crowd is engulfed with strokes of billowing smoke.
This could very well be a scene from a club in the 70s or New York’s notorious Studio 54. Better yet an integrated marketing strategy for a fashion house to be evocative of the 70s by way of brand experience in 2017.
There are few brands that make for fashion case studies, and Gucci is undoubtedly one of them. Ever since Tom Ford took its rein in 1994, his Midas touch has proven to be a blessing for the Italian fashion house even after he left. His inoculation of 70s into the Gucci’s body politic is still alive and kicking. Ford redefined the 90s men’s fashion with his multicolored velvet suits, overcoats and the likes.
His realignment took an unparalleled impetus with the collaboration of the eminent French consultant Carine Roitfeld and fashion photographer Mario Testino, he kissed goodbye to Gucci’s old conservative style and started the most bold and scandalous ad campaigns the company had (and perhaps still has) ever seen. These campaigns were hugely successful and sales increased by 90% between 1995 and 1996.
Unfortunately, Gucci’s renaissance man left in 2006 to start his eponymous label. Frida Giannini took the reigns and, much like Ford, completely altered its style. However, unlike with Ford’s approach, customers began to turn their backs on the company and sales dropped until 2015 when she left. Enter Alessandro Michele as the new, relatively unknown, creative director. Michele redesigned the collection for Men’s Fashion Week in accordance with his own vision for Gucci. The world welcomed his explosively colorful and androgynous style with wild enthusiasm of the 70s.
Sales increased significantly and Michele rose to stardom, earning thousands of Instagram followers and nearly half a million hits on Google in very little time.
Ford’s and Michele’s campaigns stand at opposite ends of the same spectrum; the former’s vision for Gucci was highly minimalistic with lean tailoring, while the latter’s is anything but. Michele went all out in his campaigns, using exotic animals coupled with mundane objects and random backdrops to separate Gucci from other, more conventional, fashion houses. However, both designers were heavily inspired by 70s fashion, Ford sticking to clingy jersey clothes and Michele to something slightly more muted and cacophony of colors.
Ford’s latest SS ‘18 men’s collection is still informed by the 70s psychedelic prints coupled with wide lapels and ties.
All fashion houses leverage some cinematic era or an aesthetic perspective. That being the case the 70s is definitely alive and grooving in the ateliers of the world’s foremost fashion houses.