Marco Bizzari, CEO of Gucci, made an interesting announcement during the New York Times International Luxury Conference in Versailles on Tuesday. He presented the news that Gucci will be breaking the mold from the traditional runway staging, by combining the runway shows for men and women, beginning for the fall 2017 lines, this way eliminating the gap between genders.
“Alessandro Michele has in fact always presented his men’s and women’s collections together, so this is a very natural progression,” Bizzari explained to New York Times. “Moving to one show each season will significantly help to simplify many aspects of our business. Maintaining two separate, disconnected calendars has been a result of tradition rather than practicality.”
This type of structure would make things a lot easier for the brand and for the audience as well. Imagine being able to secure one seat at a Gucci runway show, rather than having to worry about attending two different events altogether. Plus, the brand will be able to conserve time and resources by not spanning out the time to two different days, or perhaps even different locations. One set up, one showing. This will make things especially easier for Michele, who will now be producing four collections for the label, rather than the traditional six, but there are also more introspective connotations for the designer.
“It seems only natural to me to present my men’s and women’s collections together,” he said in a public release. “It’s the way I see the world today. It will not necessarily be an easy path and will certainly present some challenges, but I believe it will give me the chance to move toward a different kind of approach to my storytelling.”
Despite the reasoning behind the transition, Gucci is following in the footsteps of several other designers who have announced the same or similar plans for their runway showings. Burberry, Tom Ford, and Vetements have all announced their intent to combine their menswear and womenswear runway shows in the near future. The traditional runway setting is a bit outdated, as today the average consumer has expectations for the gap between genders; the added benefit is clearly the increased ease and accessibility for all parties involved in runway shows.
The clear difference between Gucci and the aforementioned brands is the rate of sale. The other brands have all also expressed intent to provide a see-now-buy-now runway experience, while Gucci will be sticking to the standard six-month waiting period before the products become available for purchase. And for a luxury brand, such a system is rectified.
The only downfall to this unified system of showing clothes is the harm it may bring due to the split-gendered Fashion Weeks. If brands continue on this trend, as they likely will with trailblazer brands leading the way, it will be impossible to sustain need for both sets of Fashion Week. Perhaps we will even see one diminish completely so all brands get one slot for each season, which combined with the increased online accessibility might further convince people to stay home and watch rather than braving the crowds. This would also result in a lowered revenue in the host cities. Although, regardless of concerns, there will be no stopping these brands from going down this path, so we would all be best off to embrace the change for its positive attributes.
We’ll be staying tuned for the next announcement on this topic, as it has not yet been disclosed which Fashion Weeks the unified runway show will be shown. But regardless of when, Gucci did announce that its unified runway show will take place in Milan on Via Mecenate, the location of Gucci’s new headquarters.
Photo courtesy of Livingly