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Back in the day, the time off between seasons was a (relatively) quiet time for the fashion industry. Now, though, the internet and social media requires brands to be grabbing peoples’ eyeballs 24/7, which has meant that some of the bigger names out there — aka the ones with more money — have started putting on extra events outside the main Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter schedules.

In the past few weeks, Chanel hosted an ancient Greek extravaganza in Paris, Louis Vuitton ventured to Kyoto and Dior brought out Rihanna in the Californian desert. Now it’s Gucci’s turn to bring out the big guns. The Italian mega-house took to home turf to unveil its Cruise 2018 collection, hosting a star-studded spectacle in Florence’s Palazzo Pitti. Here’s what went down at the event.

The Invites

Grazie @gucci

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Rather than give out regular-old invites, the Gooch decided to gift custom caps to the select group of industry insiders who were invited to the show. Grazie, Alessandro!

Before the Show

As if being flown to Florence wasn’t luxe enough, guests of the house were given an exclusive tour through the Vasari Corridor, which is normally closed to visitors. The corridor was built by the Medici family so they could walk between their palaces without having to deal with commoners (lol), and connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti, before leading into the Uffizi gallery, which houses stunning Renaissance artworks by Michelangelo, Caravaggio and da Vinci. Not bad for a Monday afternoon.

The Venue

Ciao I'm so hot I think my brain is melting

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Cruise shows are a chance for the luxury big boys to out-stunt each other, so naturally they all go for the most baller locations possible. Gucci’s previous Cruise show was in Westminster Abbey, but this time around the house decamped to Palazzo Pitti, a vast Renaissance-era Florentine Palace which was built by the Medicis, and also used as a base by Napoleon back when he was ruling (most of) Europe.

The Guest List

Jared Leto //Gucci Cruise 2018 #gucci #guccicruise #guccicruise18 #guccicruise2018 #jaredleto

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Surprise surprise, The Gooch pulled no punches when it came to the show’s guest list. As expected, Alessandro Michele super fan Jared Leto showed up. But so did Elton John—Elton John! Donald Glover was there too, while Dev Hynes—aka Blood Orange— streamed the show live via his Instagram feed. Mid-’00s megabae Kirsten Dunst dropped by to say hi, too.

The Collection

Here comes the gooch

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And what of the clothes? Well, Alessandro’s trippy, dreamy interpretation of Gucci’s mega-luxe hasn’t changed much since he took charge. For Cruise, he offered up some women’s gowns and fur coats that looked like they’d cost as much as the Palazzo itself, while the men’s pieces were injected with enough graphics to keep the house’s cash registers ringing till the end of time. Wolves, tigers, collegiate branding, sporty logos and those immortal double Gs were splattered all over the place, while the statement pieces (well, the bits that shouted *even louder* than the rest of them) dazzled, sparkled and overloaded guests’ eyeballs. Business as usual for the Gooch, then.

While we’re on the subject, here’s why Cruise collections (or Resort—they’re the same thing) are so important for fashion houses these days.

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Words by Alec Leach
Freelance Writer/Editor/Consultant

Alec Leach grew up in Brighton, England, but now lives in Berlin