Milan Fashion Week Men's closes with Gucci's plural masculinity
Jan 14, 2020
Italian luxury brand Gucci, the jewel in Kering's crown, closed Milan Fashion Week Men's and passed the baton on to Paris on Tuesday, hosting a grand runway show that explored the themes of childhood and plural masculinity.
"You are invited to my fifth birthday rave, Ale," read the show invitations, retro postcards featuring a message scrawled in childish handwriting.
Indeed, the runway was the fifth anniversary of designer Alessandro Michele's first show for Gucci, who called him in to help boost its declining sales in January 2015.
It was a gamble that paid off, with the Italian designer having breathed new life into the label with daring, often conspicuously floral collections, which sent sales skyrocketing 37% in 2017 and 44% in 2018, even if the pace did slow somewhat last year.
At Michele's latest menswear show, the models walked through a darkened room, circling an enormous pendulum that symbolised the passage of time.
In contrast to this sombre atmosphere, the collection – with its shiny silver or green disco-style pants, its green jacket-and-shorts combo paired with a purple jumper, and its vibrant honeybee-striped or check trousers – was positively effervescent as it hit the runway, backed up by the Eurythmics classic "Sweet Dreams."
Next season's Gucci man also wore some very feminine skintight blouses and some shirt-dresses featuring naïf motifs, a look that was combined with something of the spirit of grunge, as models coupled ripped jeans with oversized jumpers.
"I started here with a menswear show, so this show was an opportunity to look back at the progress we've made over the last five years and reflect on masculinity," explained Michele after the show.
"It's not a narrative that excludes 'mainstream' masculinity,' I don't want to deconstruct the masculine world, but expand it and discuss the complexity of being a man," added the designer, pointing out that this discussion also includes men's feminine side.
"I imagined becoming a child again, going back to that time when you can be free, with fewer labels, because when you begin to grow up, people start saying, 'you can't do that,'" he continued, emphasising that this collection is "an ode to romanticism and to men."
Gucci, which has shown its collections in coed shows hosted during womenswear fashion weeks since 2017, made its comeback to the menswear season with this runway.
The Florentine house was responding to the call of Italy's Camera della Moda, which is looking to revive the country's menswear fashion weeks. Thanks to the brand's return, along with a range of others, Milan Fashion Week Men's was able to reinstate its original format, finishing at midday on Tuesday, and not on Monday evening.
Next on the agenda is Paris Fashion Week Men's, which kicks off on Tuesday evening and will feature 53 shows over the space of six days. Proceedings will, however, no doubt be complicated by the ongoing transport strikes in the French capital.
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