12There is much to be said about the Gucci Fall 2020-2021 menswear show. It has been five years since the creative director and lead designer, Alessandro Michele, took the helm of the Italian fashion house. Upon arrival in 2015, Michele bought his maximalist charm to the Milanese runways.
2015 has long since passed. The industry has become increasingly aware of the impact that it has on the environment. At the end of 2019, Gucci CEO and President, Marco Bizzarni, challenged the rest of the fashion world to become carbon neutral via Instagram. In addition, Virgil Abloh declared the death of streetwear, thus himself challenging designers to change their formulas.
With this in mind, Michele chose to be more vulnerable this season. It was more streamlined and relied less on the famed monogram. The mood was much more gloomy than in seasons past and Michele invited us to join him on a quite vulnerable inner-dialogue.
The show’s tagline was “#RaveLikeYouAre.” For this collection, we were sent back to when Michele was young and perhaps to a time when he would peruse through his mother’s closet. Time was an element of the show. The show began with a pendulum swinging that swung back and forth. As it progressed, the pendulum served as a constant reminder of where the fashion house was in 2015 and where it’s going.
The opening look was a casual ensemble, the velvet tuxedo jacket with a massive silk shawl lapels was embellished with knitted hare. It was accompanied by a pair of wide-leg silver lamé pants and brown shoes. It was one of the more conservative looks of the collection as the very next look was more indicative of what was to come. The next look featured a cropped, knitted sweater with a graphic that read “Mon Petit,” a french term of endearment translated to “my little one.” The message would show up again in another iteration and speaks to the crux of the collection: a referendum of masculinity.
Gucci prefaced the show with an Instagram post titled, “Masculine, Plural.” The post discussed toxic masculinity and how it fosters violence. It goes to call on men to, “reconnect with his core of fragility.” Whether one agrees with the message or not, it is impossible to deny that Michele was speaking directly to that point. As the show went on, models appeared in a mix of ‘50s and ‘60s-inspired couture dresses. Perhaps the strongest statement of the show came in the form of an oversized white t-shirt that featured the words “impatient” and “impotent” overlapping each other.
The finale looks featured a model with red bangs in a long floral shirt covered by a brown knitted sweater with holes. It’s certainly an interesting way to end this particular show. In a time where traditional masculine tropes are being questioned, menswear is going through a metamorphosis, and it will be fascinating to see what’s next on the Michele timeline. Other menswear brands will have to develop their own responses to the changing times.