Imperial China. Folkloric needlepoint from 19th century America. The ancien régime of France. Seemingly disparate narratives, they come together this season in a wonderfully nuanced script, written by creative director Alessandro Michele and told through his Cruise 2016 lace gown.
For the whimsical piece, Michele drew inspiration from vastly different fonts, beginning with its distinguishing shade of yellow. Rooted in the Forbidden City, it was the royal color of emperors past.
The symmetrical patchwork found along the bodice—blue doves atop red flowers—trace back to early 19th century Shaker crafts, while the dress’s ruffled bell sleeves channel a silhouette pre-dating the French Revolution. And then there’s the embellished belt, which speaks of a much more intimate connection, that of the House and its Web stripe.
“I’m a collector of everything,” says Michele. “I love taking prints, embroidery, appliqués—precious things that seem to be from another time—and using them to create a contemporary, new story.”