MILAN — They say change is good. Well, Milan’s runway calendar is definitely changing as Men’s Fashion Week rapidly shrinks, with a growing number of brands having opted for coed displays during Women’s Fashion Week — and several for the first time this year.
The latest to reveal plans for a coed show was Roberto Cavalli — although the Florence-based house plans to return to the traditional shows by gender starting with the spring 2019 season. Cavalli will present its men’s and women’s fall 2018 collections together with a runway show to be held during the next Milan Women’s Fashion Week, running Feb. 21 to 27. The show will mark the men’s wear debut of Paul Surridge as creative director of the label, which he joined last May. The British designer’s first women’s collection was unveiled last September.
The coed format is flexible also in the case of Etro, as the Milan-based company, which has already embraced the single show, will present its men’s collection during Milan Men’s Fashion Week this year as it marks the 50th anniversary of the brand. While for many brands going coed is a logical consequence to present a cohesive message delivered from the brand’s sole creative director, Etro is unusual as the two collections are helmed by different designers. Veronica Etro is creative director of the women’s division and her brother Kean leads the men’s category. Jacopo Etro, global communications vice president at the family-owned company, said, “because the two creative directors are different, the decision strengthens the brand’s unity of message with the same themes.”
Similarly, Salvatore Ferragamo’s collections are overseen by two different designers. The Florence-based house revealed in December that it would show its men’s and women’s fall 2018 collections in February, designed by Guillaume Meilland and Paul Andrew, respectively. The show will mark the ready-to-wear debut of Andrew, who was previously women’s footwear creative director and was appointed creative director of the women’s fashion collection last October, succeeding Fulvio Rigoni.
Marking a different path in 2018, the coed format will allow Moncler to present a new strategy masterminded by chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini. Kicking off Milan Women’s Fashion week, a show combining men’s and women’s wear on the evening of Feb. 20 will unveil what the company dubbed the Moncler Genius Building, “a material and symbolic hub representative of the new course of the brand,” to reach out directly to the public in a unique and creative way. As reported in November, Ruffini ended the Gamme Bleu and Gamme Rouge collections, designed by Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli, respectively. The last collections for the brands were presented for the spring 2018 season.
“Every company must innovate and it’s a choice shared 100 percent with the designers,” Ruffini told WWD in November. “I need to create a new project that will bring new energy to Moncler. It was a very difficult decision, stemming from the need to evolve, to create a solution that would naturally create a new and alternative project to one that was launched 10 years ago and was feeling somewhat dated.”
Gucci was the first company in Italy to reveal in 2016 the decision to combine the men’s and women’s shows, designed by Alessandro Michele, starting in 2017. Bottega Veneta, also owned by Kering, began to show the two collections together, both designed by Tomas Maier. Exceptionally in February, Bottega Veneta will hold its coed show in New York to mark the opening of a new Manhattan flagship.
Coed shows are also in sync with an increasingly gender-blurry world — and are one way to reduce costs.
Missoni, Jil Sander, Moschino and Dsquared2 are among others to have already chosen the joint format, although the latter shows in January and June during Men’s Fashion Week in Milan.
While the coed trend started in Milan, more and more brands throughout Europe are opting for the format. In London, Burberry led the way and was rapidly joined by Vivienne Westwood, while in Paris, Saint Laurent, Givenchy under new creative director Clare Waight-Keller, Balenciaga and Paul Smith all hold dual-gender shows, although Smith does his during men’s fashion week. Vetements will also hold a coed show during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris in January.
More labels are generally opting to show on the women’s calendar, presenting challenges for men’s buyers and editors in all the major cities. Carlo Capasa, president of Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda, is taking the fluidity in stride and is focusing on coordination. In December, he underscored how the latest Milan Men’s Fashion Week schedule reflects the changes in the men’s wear industry.
“The concept of how men’s wear is shown has changed and so has the concept of the calendar — everything is combined together and there is more and more cross-pollination,” Capasa contended.