West News Wire: Alessandro Michele collaborated with Harry Styles on a transitional collection that fuses tailoring with adolescent liberation. “HaHaHa,” the collection’s title, evokes a sense of joy while also expressing their initials: Harry and Alessandro.

“In truth, it was easier for him to play with me to create clothes than it was for me to sing with him,” Michele joked with reporters at a collection preview in a Milan vintage store.

Michele exploded into the fashion world proposing a new era of gender-fluid dressing, looks that immediately appealed to Harry Styles, who was just starting his solo career. Michele said the singer incorporated one of his debut pieces as Gucci creative director into his wardrobe as he was breaking out from “One Direction.”

The relationship has grown over the years and takes flight in frequent exchanges of fashion inspiration over WhatsApp.

“At times, WhatsApp becomes a mood board,’’ Michele said. Though two decades apart in age, the two have found common ground in fashion: Michele says Styles restored a sort of adolescent glee, while Styles has matured into more tailored looks. The dual influences are present in the new collection.

The pair created a series of endearing block prints against gingham, featuring the collection’s mascot, a grumpy teddy bear, as well as a munching squirrel, and a sheep and cherry combination. Gucci styles tailored suit jackets from the prints, and paired them with colorful, wide-legged trousers or distressed jeans. The prints are repeated on pajamas, while patches inject whimsy onto knitwear or a ribbed white tank. Accessories include an updated Jackie Bag covered with grommets.

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Mixed on the racks of the vintage store, the Gucci HaHaHa collection was often hard to distinguish from the stock.

“It is a great compliment to me that it is confused with vintage,’’ Michele said. “Vintage means well-made.”


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