On Monday, the creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, announced that the fashion house would reduce the number of shows it holds each year. Instead of going with the traditional number of five shows, Gucci will only partake in two. Via video conference, Michele also expressed interest in doing away with the distinction between men’s wear and women’s wear and introducing gender-fluidity to the fashion house as well as opting to go “seasonless,” by ridding of traditional appellations of fall/winter and spring/summer.
“We need new oxygen to allow this complex system to be reborn,” Michele says, and one way of going about that is by reducing the number of shows.
Gucci is not the first house to announce a change in its runway plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has deadlocked the entire industry by shutting down stores and wiping out balance sheets.
Saint Laurent, another Kering company, the Gucci parent company, announced that they would forgo the fashion show season and create their own schedule for this year while Dries Van Noten said he would be putting on a show until 2021. Giorgio Armani will partake in September but plans to combine both men’s and women’s shows into one while his couture show will be held in Milan instead of Paris, in January.
But Gucci is the first brand to commit to a permanent rethink and could ultimately play a domino effect on other brands. The announcement follows the open letter from #rewiringfashion, a group of mostly independent brands and retailers that called for a rethink of the shows and the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council, which calls for only two seasons a year.
The open letter states:
“There should be no rules — imposed by convention or fashion councils — regarding the format of shows, nor any expectations that every brand should show every season.”
That said, while in the midst of a pandemic, fashion houses may be forced to deal with the true feasibility of the entire ready-to-wear show season, which consists of a four-week traveling show that moves from New York to London to Milan to Paris every September-October and February-March.
Teased via Gucci’s Instagram post. Michele writes:
“I will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, closer to my expressive call.”
Michele claims that while he as on lockdown in his apartment in Rome that he had “time — time I have never had before to think about my work, my creativity, our future, the future of the company.” Michele then claims that under the previous unrelenting system, his “creativity was being jeopardized.”
The decision to reduce the show schedule came after speaking with Marco Bizzarri, the Gucci chief executive, though when the first show would arise has been left unclear.
While Michele believes that the upcoming show in September was deemed impossible, the July 17 show, during Milan’s digital fashion week, will broadcast a look at what would have been its cruise collection.
While fewer fashion weeks are undeniably more sustainable, both in terms of human and environmental price, how will it reflect on the economy? Fashion weeks are noted to provide a tremendous source of income for the municipalities involved.
In 2019, Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York released a report from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, noting that New York Fashion Week alone, held each year in February and September, attracts 150,000 attendees and generates close to $600 million in total income. Just some of the industries involved include hospitality (hotels and restaurants), security services, and florists — and the economic impact NYFW surpasses that of the Super Bowl or the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. This holds true for other fashion weeks in other cities. If fashion week appointments start mto shift away from the traditional scheduling, cities that are already challenged by the pandemic are more than likely to feel the impact.