The week fashion canceled women
At Gucci, creative director Alessandro Michele has championed a non-binary agenda for half a decade. Sure, people have been cross-dressing for eons, but in today’s climate, with a fierce culture war raging over what a woman is, it looks very different from the unisex larks of the early 1970s. The Gucci Runway in Milan two weeks ago, always a blockbuster, presented 84 “looks”, for men and women. While the public expects cross-dressing at a Gucci show, one might have expected a cross-section of female cis models on the catwalk. When I phoned the press office to confirm the exact number (it wasn’t clear even from a front row perch), unsure themselves, they estimated there were around six.
Like Balenciaga, Gucci is one of those brands that sets the fashion agenda. The bride in the wedding dress at the Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini show in Milan last week was a man. Designer Gabriela Hearst, who has her own luxury brand and also designs for Chloé, recently explained why she makes little distinction between her women’s and men’s collections, and credited her teenage daughter with opening the doors. eyes. “Children want to be free,” she told trade publication Women’s Wear Daily. “For them, gender is an imposition.” It’s a similar story in Celine’s digital shows.
Does every member of Gen Z really find gender to be an imposition? I’d bet that’s not true for a lot of people who buy Hearst’s luxury and stylish clothes. I asked Sir Paul Smith, one of the designers of modern British menswear and womenswear, if he planned to show the majority of his womenswear collection on men? “In a word, no. I’m a relatively small independent label. Everything I put on the catwalk has to sell. It’s not just about statements. Apart from anything else, men’s and women’s suits are cut differently.
There, in part, is a critical point. As a young male designer who worked for Hermès and Chloé told me, “a lot of designers prefer to design for men because the silhouette is straighter. Everything is easier. This way, brands can embrace the current culture of validation around gender fluidity and transposition, while potentially making more money selling their womenswear to men.