Gucci's comeback is ubiquitous. It not only has dominated the fashion headlines from season to season, but also brought a tornado of aesthetics shift across the entire fashion industry. If you look at the 2017 SS handbag collections of Prada, Miu Miu, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, or even Saint Laurent, they have, in one way or another, replicated Gucci's eccentric maximalist looks.
Bejeweled embroidery, nature-inspired motifs, appliqué and contrast colored stripes, canvas or embellished straps have become the new uniform.
Coincidentally, we started to observe the softness of Céline's staple products such as Trapeze, Luggage trickling in and even its recent Trotteur, Twisted Cabas collections did not generate as much a craze as the Luggage did since it was first introduced in 2010. In fact, across the board, structured and clean silhouetted totes and handle bags have lost steam significantly. As mentioned in LVMH's latest 2016 financial statements, Céline posted "good growth of shoe lines and ready-to-wear", no mentioning of handbags at all!
Gucci Scalloped Flap Bag w/ Studs vs Fendi Scalloped Flap Bag w/ Studs
Is minimalism overshadowed by maximalism? When embroidery and faux pearls climb onto Fendi's Peekaboo, when Saint Laurent irons patchworks onto its Sac de Jour, when Prada plants florals onto its Saffiano Galleria, I see all these heritage designers rush to touch up their iconic shapes with a strike of "Gucci".
Popularity is one step away from over-exposure. The once sold out Mansur Gavriel is no longer waitlisted and the mid-price sweetheart Self-Portrait does not escape from the fate of discounting. Gucci caught the industry by surprise but whoever followed suit might end up with excess.
Since when fashion is less about individualism and diversity, more about winner-take-all or becoming the next best seller? On the business side, more and more conglomerate-owned fashion houses are ran by a bottom-line driven model and hence focus more on catching on a trend to generate short-term sales growth versus creating a trend that has a long lasting impact. On the consumer side, point of view has been tamed by social media, where the most liked is liked by most and self expression filtered for social approval. Instagram has become a production line of overly embellished monotone.
The maximalist pandemic is becoming an overkill. It's much easier to re-do the motifs than creating a classic new silhouette. It is the 2.55, the Birkin, and the Kelly that have defied history and when is the last time a silhouette made a full blast? I think it was more than 10 years ago.