From the first 100 pages of “House of Gucci,” star fashion stylist Kate Young quips, “You don’t know me, you probably don’t know this, but I am not like everyone else.” In the present day, however, that sort of honesty is a worrisome reality.
This review was originally published in the Washingtonian Fashion section in 1990.
Kate Young is a sharp and sassy thing. Not to be mistaken for a fashion faux pas (remember Victoria Beckham’s “can I borrow your clothes?”), it would be a faux pas if she wasn’t, but to be mistaken for the other things she seems to do: dress young, well and well within her means, employ quiet sex appeal and no one really notices. Young once sold clothes to Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina. Helms liked her clothes so much that he employed her, to the tune of $95,000 a year, for her political and media styling, where she helped unveil the campaigns of major Republicans including Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush. Young’s right-hand man, her partner Michael Huelskamp, is the architect of the three-year collaboration.
Their six-episode series, “House of Gucci,” is the brainchild of TV director Mark Gordon (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Alias”). It stars Young as a successful businesswoman whose soul is growing desperate as she’s losing touch with her personal life. She moves back in with her parents in New York City, embarks on a grand Italian vacation with her boyfriend Jason (Jon Gries) and sets herself the task of selling off a once-magnificent collection of Gucci clothes, built up over decades and acquired with her cousin’s inheritance.
On one level, the series is light, irony-tinged comedy. In fact, the opening episode boasts one of the most memorable lines of the year. “Au revoir, my love,” says Jason to Kate, after they made love. She follows his response with a poignant reminder that “the trendiest show in history is the Chinese military parade.” These moments of candor remind us that there is a serious undercurrent. The project is a carefully guarded enterprise, this is an ostentatious showcase, but one featuring flawless fashion and a great cast. Young and her team of experts wring great drama and melancholy from each episode.
(Disclosure: Young has written a column for the Washingtonian from 2013 to 2018. The “House of Gucci” project was born and realized by Young, Huelskamp and her creative partner, Tara Fitzsimons.)
From the second episode, Young and her partners make “House of Gucci” a quality project. The 10-part “House of Gucci” debuts on WGN America this Friday.