Single sex shows
Marco Bizzarri, the CEO of the brand, has announced his plan to end separate sex fashion shows at The New York Times International Luxury conference in Versailles, France. Instead of holding individual shows for men and women’s wear, Bizzarri said he hoped to combine the two collections into a single show held every season.
Gucci are not the first to make the move towards gender-fluidity in high fashion – Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger and Tom Ford have made similar announcements. Does this mean that the traditional separating of shows by gender will soon disappear?
Breaking gender binaries
Of course, with gender being increasingly challenged, the mixing of men and women’s collections into one show seems like a move to further advocate the closing of the gap between binaries. Clothes are often the most gendered things we come across.
Walk into any clothes store – guaranteed you’ll be able to find (especially in the children’s section) an array of pink clothes for girls emblazoned with flowers or unicorns, when the phrase ‘blue is for boys’ still reigns strong in the boys section. When was the last time you saw a guy wearing a kilt that wasn’t at a Scottish wedding?
But fashion has been challenging these binaries recently. Take Louis Vuitton’s womenswear campaign with Jaden Smith decked out in a pleated skirt – another big-brand name pushing the limits in the fashion world.
And what about 1.61, a New York based store whose slogan “Utilitarian. Uniform. Unisex.” seems to epitomise the increasing popularity of non-gendered clothing in the industry?
Gucci’s move towards more non-gender friendly fashion isn’t just apparent in their decision to hold mixed gendered fashion shows: their men’s Spring 2015 collection featured loud flower prints, over-sized sunglasses, silky floral scarves and too many rings to count. Their A/W16 show also featured transgender model, actress and writer Hari Nef. So with this move away from heavily gendered clothing for men, and their featuring of transgender models it seems only natural for them to combine men and women’s collections in one show.
The move isn’t solely inspired by a fight to redefine gender norms, though. Practicality seems to be the brands main focus. Bizzarri emphasised that, in Vogue; “Moving to one show each season will significantly help to simplify many aspects of our business.”
A ‘radical move’?
With business benefits and an additional challenge to our perception of gender, the idea of a combined show all seems good, right? But there have been many arguments against Bizzarri’s decision. Fashion consultant Julie Gilhart sees it as a particularly radical move, calling it “potentially the most disruptive change yet.” (New York Times).
This disruption is namely to do with fashion weeks. Although the male collections shown at fashion weeks are much less popular than the female collections, each show reels in a lot of money – $887 million to be exact, according to the New York City Economic Development. Scrapping individually gendered shows would mean that the profit would be significantly reduced.
It’s not clear exactly when the first combined gender fashion show will take place, but it looks to be some time in 2017. For now, Gucci’s decision sets to make strides toward gender neutrality in the fashion industry.