Gucci Sets a Brave New Fashion Agenda

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Gucci AW 2020 campaign coronavirus pandemic lockdown
Gucci Autumn/Winter 2020Creative Director Alessandro Michele, Art Director Christopher Simmonds

“I decided to build a new path,” said creative director Alessandro Michele as he reduces the house’s annual shows from five to just two

Over the past few weeks, as lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have begun to be tentatively lifted, the fashion industry has started to grapple with what comes next – with a host of designers, industry leaders and journalists insisting that now is the time for fashion to change for the better. Yesterday, in a “virtual gathering”, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele solidified his own plans for the Italian house, announcing that he will now host just two shows a year, down from five previously.

These two shows will combine mens- and womenswear and take place in the autumn and the spring (a show this September, when Gucci would usually show at Milan Fashion Week, Michele says looks unlikely). No longer called Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter – “I think these are stale and underfed words ... clothes should have a longer life than that which these words attribute to them,” he said – and instead will be seasonless, taking their names from “classical music language ... symphonies, rhapsodies, madrigals, nocturnes”. The move will also see the end of the house’s Cruise shows, which have taken place on dramatic backdrops around the world, from Westminster Abbey here in London to the Capitoline Museum in Michele’s native Rome.

A series of diary entries on the designer’s Instagram account elucidated his decision further, citing the effects that the traditional fashion calendar had on the work we live in. “Above all, we understand we went way too far. Our reckless actions have burned the house we live in. We conceived of ourselves as separated from nature, we felt cunning and almighty,” he said. “This is why I decided to build a new path.” In a conversation with AnOther’s Alexander Fury last week – on the release of a socially distanced Gucci campaign – he had noted the pandemic as a time for introspection: “This time was the time to reveal how powerful human beings are. That idea of humanity. Fashion is humanity,” he said. 

For now, Michele will show a resort collection digitally on July 17, photographed on Gucci’s studio assistants – an “epilogue” to the old way of doing things, as he said. Nonetheless, he remains committed to the experience of the fashion show itself: “I’m passionate about fashion shows, but maybe we can be open to seeing them in a different way.”