Gucci Says Bye To Tradition, Moves to All-Gender Runway Shows
Another day, another designer coming in like a wrecking ball to chip away at the antiquated notions of gender that dominate the fashion industry. On Tuesday, Gucci stripped away the old and ushered in a new era of gender-blended fashion shows. Speaking at the New York Times International Luxury conference in Versailles, chief executive Marco Bizzarri announced that the design house will no longer conform to the men’s and women’s runway schedules—opting instead for one mixed-gender show per season.
“Moving to one show each season will significantly help to simplify many aspects of our business,” he explained. “Maintaining two separate, disconnected calendars has been a result of tradition rather than practicality.”
In the fast-paced world of fashion, conforming to the traditional is no longer an option. Gucci joins other brands like Burberry, Tom Ford, and Vetements in their new commitment to a one-collection vision. The former two brands will unveil their new combined shows in September, while Vetements will start off 2017 with their mixed-gender show. The brand isn’t going totally out of the box though. Gucci will still adhere to the traditional production schedule that makes clothing available six months after it debuts on the runway. Brands like Burberry and events like Seoul Fashion Week have begun to commit to a see now, buy now model that makes clothing available immediately off the runway.
For Gucci’s parent company Kering, their stance on the fashion schedule remains stuck in the past, despite a growing, and costly, gap between modern consumer expectations and the traditional fashion system. When we’re used to instant gratification through our social networks and having one-click buy now options for online shopping, six months feels like six years. Yet for Kering chief executive officer Francois-Herni Pinault, this instant see new, buy now model “negates the dream” of luxury. So far, the model is working well for the brand, as Gucci has seen its strongest revenue growth in three years for the brand.
Gucci’s breakaway from separated men’s and women’s shows is promising both financially and socially. When the cost of a show can reach over $1 million, unifying the collections is a smart cost-effective measure for the rapid pace of the industry. It also reflects the status of fashion and the world, as young people pave the way for a more gender-neutral future.
From celebrities to toy companies, the traditional male and female dichotomy is dissolving. Target and Toys “R” Us have also done away with gender-based labeling, and everyone from Laverne Cox and Hari Nef to Miley Cyrus and Caitlyn Jenner have proven that not everything is as blue and pink as we’ve been made to believe. In the fashion world in the past few months, Louis Vuitton has put Jaden Smith in their womenswear campaign, Zara has created a gender neutral basics line, and young designers have thrown out traditional gender dichotomies.
Gucci doesn’t plan to unveil its first combined runway show until next year, but we’ll have our eye out for what Kering does with the other brands it manages—including Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. But as fashion struggles to keep pace with the breakneck speed of culture, it’s only natural for gendered runways to become a relic of the past.
Stay tuned to Milk for more fashion news.
Images via Dazed, Gucci, and Vogue.