Birds flutter, bees buzz, snakes slither: anyone who has attended a Gucci fashion show in the past two years will know that the conjuring of phantasmagorical dreamscapes filled with riotously colourful animals is an Alessandro Michele specialty.

A self-styled Renaissance man with an eye for the antique, Michele has redefined the Gucci codes as bound up in decadence, myth and romance – all highly marketable ideas, as evidenced by the fully loaded nature of his maximalist catwalk looks, but ones that feel as though they have soul, too.

Perhaps that’s down to those reccurring animals, so delicately rendered that they pass into the realms of symbolism. Take the latest accessory to benefit from his Midas touch: Le Marché des Merveilles, a collection of watches that draws on the heritage of the Florentine house but pulses with an energy that’s all Michele’s.

With a collection title that loosely translates as ‘The Wonder Factory’, the embroidered timepieces are characteristically whimsical. The vibrant dial motifs feature a familiar cast of creatures, from the tiger, mid-roar, who frequently graces Gucci’s embellished sweaters; to the serpent, which finds itself starring on velvet shoes and the clasp of the hit Dionysus bag; to the golden bee, a talisman first introduced in the Seventies, and one which pops up embroidered on trainers, set in jewellery and appearing on canvas bags.