Alessandro Michele is a man on the move. Years after single-handedly catapulting Gucci into a new era characterised by vintage iconography, the creative director has launched a new high jewellery line for the Italian fashion giant.
The result? A collection of 200 pieces named Hortus Deliciarum — which in Latin means Garden of Delights — that evoke the botanical romance of Eden, Arcadia and Xanadu.
Like nature, imperfection is vaunted to spiritual heights. The line is segmented across three broad brushstrokes: classical emblems to eternal love, an ode to the animal kingdom and the unbridled beauty of maximalism, unleashed on minute proportions and precious stones.
Chandelier earrings, brooches and rings centred on heart-shaped gemstones characterise much of the collection. Michele also doesn’t hold back from invoking historical design languages as Rococo, Baroque and Georgian styles weave its way throughout the collection. Tiaras are inlaid with an intricate motif of florals while majestic lions are depicted on rings clasping on to rubies, sapphires and amethysts between their sharp fangs.
Yet Michele’s trademark eccentricity for Gucci is stamped all over this debut. Some are translated from former jewellery collections — a feline head beset with semiprecious stones curve into the dramatic swish of a bedazzled fin that wraps around the finger is a design also seen in Le Marche des Merveilles. The bestiary theme continues across the collection, and onto a 30.30-carat iridescent opal carved into a coiled viper relief on a gold ring as well as the instantly recognisable bee inlaid with a jewel on its thorax.
These pieces were unveiled at Gucci’s new boutique at Place Vendome, the locus of Parisian jewellers and are set to sport price tags well into the millions.