“The change I imagine involves the capacity to reconnect with the deepest reasons that inspired my entry into the fashion realm,” said designer Alessandro Michele.
Alessandro Michele has been doing a lot of thinking since the coronavirus outbreak. In a video conference held at his studio on Monday, the creative director of Gucci announced that the Italian brand will permanently limit the number of fashion shows that it produces every year down to two. The news comes after a series of lengthy Instagram posts that offered reason as to why the decision was made.
“The change I imagine involves the capacity to reconnect with the deepest reasons that inspired my entry into the fashion realm,” he wrote. “I feel the need to renew a bond, purifying the essential by getting rid of the unnecessary. I crave the authentic motive of a choice. The full set of reasons that set me on my way. I understand, as time went by, that these motives have different names and different intensities, but they inevitably gather around the same urgency: the possibility to tell.”
Gucci, like so many other labels of its stature, has been churning out five or more collections every year: the two behemoth presentations at Milan Fashion Week in September and February, menswear shows, resort, and pre-fall. Of the latter two, the brand would stage spectacles held at distant locations and invite celebrities and influencers to promote brand visibility. This marketing tactic has led Gucci to become one of the most revered brands in and outside of the industry. But, as Michele points out, it has taken its toll creatively. The hefty number of shows also seems out of place during a time when the masses are reeling from the effects of COVID-19—the health risks, mounting unemployment rates, and overall sense of despair.
“This crisis represents a fundamental test for us all. It’s a test, because there is sorrow, exertion, and danger,” he wrote. “But also because there is an evaluation and a judgment. Through sorrow we can look at our recent past with a critical eye. At our list of debts, misunderstandings, false notes, mistakes. At our missteps and recklessness. At the thunderous absence of through we dared not express.”
Indeed, Michele is not the only designer who has assessed the fashion cycle and sought change. Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and Dries Van Noten have already taken their shows off the official calendar in September. Further, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council have penned an open letter, calling for two seasons a year, waving the hashtag #RewiringFashion. Gucci, however, is the only brand to make the two-season model permanent.
Michele also plans to combine both menswear and womenswear in one show, and he is calling for the removal of the fall and spring distinctions that are normally assigned to collections. Per The New York Times, he is still unsure whether or not the brand’s presentations will be physical or digital—but he is emphasizing that there will only be two.
“Therefore, I will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, closer to my expressive call,” he added. “We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story.”