An Androgynous Change of Course in Italian Fashion

The fact that menswear has been borrowing both pieces and influences from the female wardrobe is not a new tendency, but it has, up until now, been read more as a subcultural than a widespread development. The latest brand to join Saint Laurent and J.W. Anderson in this female-take-on-menswear, androgynous trend is, perhaps a bit surprisingly, the classy Italian label Gucci. The recent Fall/Winter 2015 collection shown in Milan, was the first runway under the new Creative DirectorAlessandro Michele – who took over Gucci after Frida Giannini’s sudden departure. The questions following the move were, and remain, many: Might this collection be the beginning of a new Gucci era? Can we officially say that the “feminisation” has become mainstream in menswear?

If we were to try to understand such a phenomenon, above the simplistic search for ‘novelty’, we should take into account that brands and their collections have developed greatly in the past few years and are now pushing the limits more often than they used to, with the androgynous approach as only one example of that process. However, it is questionable how much this trend will effect how the majority of men are dressing. Will we be seeing the full Gucci look, which felt very 70s and Jagger-like, with tie blouses and silky materials, on the streets? Probably not. It might lead to some female details in next year’s collections, but will not take over men’s wardrobe in the same way classic menswear pieces have entered the female one. One exception to this might be the Asian market, which is a bit more risk-taking when it comes to challenging male stereotypes. This might also be a very practical explanation of why we saw that many silky blouses on the Gucci runway. But above all formal influences and brand strategy, what is most remarkable about Gucci’s new Creative Director is his apparent speed and easy at work. If this is what Alessandro Michele can pull off in ten days, which was supposedly all the time he got to set up the show, just think of what he will do with more time on his hands.

Hanna Cronsjö