The coronavirus pandemic will forever change the fashion industry as people know it. Brands are rethinking business models and pivoting to e-commerce. Major retailers like J. Crew and Neiman Marcus have filed for bankruptcy. Designers, too, must totally reevaluate how to present their work. The seasonal — and highly social — nature of fashion shows presents some problems: Can physical shows safely take place? How often should shows even occur during a global health crisis?
Gucci’s Alessandro Michele recently shared his insights into the matter, and effectively turned the entire industry upside down. On his personal Instagram account, the creative director alluded to several ideas he’s been mulling over. In a series of posts called “Notes From The Silence,” he outlined his optimistic vision for the Italian couturier, and perhaps for the entirety of the industry. Most notably, Michele announced that Gucci will showcase its collection just twice a year moving forward, down from its previous five shows annually.
“Now we know that too furious was our doing, too insidious was our ride,” he wrote. “This is why I decided to build a new path… away from deadlines that the industry consolidated… and an excessive performativity that today really has no raison d’etre. We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story. Irregular, joyful, and absolutely free chapters, which will be written blending rules and genres, feeding on new spaces, linguistic codes, and communication platforms.”
On Monday, Vogue reported that Michele hosted a virtual gathering, where he offered additional details into the developments for the luxury brand.
“We should not start over in the same way, breathless,” he said. “It’s been too difficult. I want to start over with a breath of fresh air, with oxygen. The fashion world has become a sort of Woodstock, open to a huge audience. We’re followed by many people who’ve never entered our stores. The community outside the company is scattered all over the world.”
From here on out, Gucci’s two shows will combine men’s and women’s collections, and they will take place in the fall and spring. According to Vogue, a September 2020 show is “unlikely” given the time constraints. Its Resort collection will be presented at Milan Digital Fashion Week on July 17, and will be an “epilogue” that brings this chapter of Gucci to a close.
In April, Saint Laurent became the first major label to take itself completely off the 2020 schedule. And just last week, Pyer Moss announced it will skip a traditional runway show altogether, opting instead for a drive-in movie premiere in New York City this September.
While no one has a crystal ball to affirmatively say what fashion will look like when the pandemic is over, how the industry responds now and over the next few months will provide insight into that future world. With brands pausing to reflect during this uncertain time, the long-term hope is that fashion will come out on the other side of this crisis more intentional, inclusive, and sustainable.
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