Backstage at Gucci RTW Spring 2020

MILAN — Milan Fashion Week Men’s is three months away, but it’s getting an unexpected boost, courtesy of Gucci. The Italian fashion brand will be returning to the January edition with a men’s wear show to be held on Jan. 14, after deciding to go coed in 2017. That would be the last day of the next edition, as Milan Fashion Week Men’s is slated to run Jan. 10 to 14, 2020.

In a letter sent to Italy’s Camera della Moda president Carlo Capasa, Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci, thanking the fashion association for the invitation to return to Milan Fashion Week Men’s, said “the Milan fashion shows embody the strength and beauty of Made in Italy. Milan Fashion Week is a central event in the fashion world’s calendar and confirms Italy’s fundamental role — for creativity and manufacturing alike — in the luxury sector.”

Bizzarri underscored that the “act of solidarity” of the companies taking part in Milan Fashion Week “have already demonstrated their capacity to work together with a common goal: to make women’s fashion week ever more beautiful, innovative and authoritative, this is what happened last month.” This is a reference to how the Camera has been working on shaking up the status quo and in July it revealed Milan Fashion Week would present different show calendars going forward. Some key Italian fashion players agreed to rotate slots in upcoming seasons to favor a more balanced calendar to benefit the system and the city. As a result, during the latest women’s Milan Fashion Week edition in September, Prada staged its show in the afternoon of the first day of shows, Sept. 18, a Wednesday, instead of the afternoon slot on Thursdays the brand has usually held. Consequently, Gucci postponed and staged its show — then coed — on that Sept. 22, effectively closing the week. 

In the following season of women’s shows in 2020, Gucci will reprise its usual Wednesday spot, presenting its fall 2020 collection on Feb. 19, while the Giorgio Armani show will be staged on Feb. 23.

Bizzarri characterized these efforts as “a vision and experience upon which to build further joint initiatives, keeping the leadership of Made in Italy as the top priority above all other considerations. It’s now the time to work together in the same way for Milan Fashion Week Men’s. Adding a day to the calendar is the right choice to maximize relevance and prestige, giving back to the men’s fashion shows in Milan the role they deserve on the world’s stage. Milan is the city of our hub in Via Mecenate, the city where the result of all our work is presented, every season, before the world. Consequently, your invitation to return to showing during men’s fashion week makes us excited at the prospect. We were proud to close the final day of women’s fashion week last month. And, in the same spirit, I am happy today to accept your invitation for Gucci to return to the Milan Fashion Week Men’s calendar in January 2020.”

Since 2017, Gucci held coed shows during women’s fashion weeks in February and September. “It seems only natural to me to present my men’s and women’s collections together. It’s the way I see the world today,” said Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele at the time.

However, things are changing, and after a number of slimmer men’s fashion week calendars, more labels could perhaps be enticed to follow Gucci’s example.

Coed shows have gained some traction with some brands, such as Dsquared2, followed, for example, by Alessandro Dell’Acqua earlier this year, who decided to show his men’s and women’s collections under the No. 21 moniker to offer a single “design reference and reinforce the brand positioning,” he said. Other Milan-based brands that have opted for a coed runway show include Bottega Veneta and Missoni. On the other hand, Salvatore Ferragamo and Jil Sander, for example, have returned to differentiating the shows after holding coed events.

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