Gucci Is Going Coed With Its Future Fashion Shows

This past season, among the main talking points of Fashion Month, scrutiny of the traditional show schedule was definitely high on the list. While most of this talk, especially centered around "see now, buy now," was New York-focused (and certain high-power fashion players in Europe voiced their dissent), one of Italy's buzziest brands is proving its commitment to innovation by making one key switch in the future to collection protocol. Starting in 2017, Alessandro Michele will present the brand's new women's and men's collections together, as opposed to staging two separate events only weeks apart. The interesting show tweak was announced by Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri at The New York Times' recent International Luxury Conference. "Moving to one show each season will significantly help to simplify many aspects of our business," the executive said. "Maintaining two separate, disconnected calendars has been a result of tradition rather than practicality." This approach is somewhat similar to Burberry's new "seasonless" biannual events. In February, the British fashion house touched on concerns regarding the traditional show calendar: The brand now combines its men's and women's runways, releases the collections for sale directly following the single show, and strips collections of traditionally seasonal designations. (Instead, the collections are called "February" and "September," depending on the month they're shown, Business of Fashion reported.) Vetements and Tom Ford have also made the decision to make their runways coed. For Michele, this change to his presentation schedule isn't totally groundbreaking. "It seems only natural to me to present my men's and women's collections together," the designer said in a statement. "It's the way I see the world today." While Michele acknowledged that this break with tradition will involve some challenges, he noted it will ultimately "give me the chance to move towards a different kind of approach to my storytelling." Don't expect Gucci to jump on the "see now, buy now" bandwagon anytime soon, though. At the conference, Bizzarri clarified the house's commitment to a "see now, buy later" schedule. He noted that Gucci is working with Italy's Camera Nazionale della Moda to develop its new calendar while also honoring the lead times necessarily to produce luxury items. Back in February, François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering (Gucci's parent company), said that making fashion shows immediately shoppable "negates the dream" of luxury, per Bloomberg, adding that the traditional runway-to-retail calendar "created desire" for the high-end items on display. Time will tell if other major fashion houses follow suit and streamline their women's and men's collections into one runway experience each time around.

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