These are tumultuous times for the fashion industry: amid the major designer shake-ups (Hedi Slimane, Raf Simons, Alber Elbaz, to name but a few) and game-changing forays into digital (think Diesel's controversial advertising move and the embrace of Snapchat), now luxury fashion houses are rethinking the time-old tradition of showing their collections.
Burberry was the first to take the plunge, announcing in February that it will reduce its four-yearly shows to just two, starting this September. Even more revolutionary, their future collections will be shoppable straight off the runway, reducing the long lead time between shows and collections hitting the shops.
Gucci is the first to follow suit, announcing that from next year, the house will merge its men's and women's shows into one. CEO Marco Bizzarri revealed the news at the New York Times International Luxury Conference overnight, saying, "Maintaining two separate, disconnected calendars has been a result of tradition rather than practicality."
Given Alessandro Michele's penchant for dressing boys in bows and blousons, the move makes sense from a creative as well as commercial perspective. "It seems only natural to me to present my men's and women's collections together," the Gucci creative director said in a company statement. "It's the way I see the world today. It will not necessarily be an easy path and will certainly present some challenges, but I believe it will give me the chance to move towards a different kind of approach to my story telling."
Unlike Burberry, Gucci has no plans to switch to a 'see now, buy now' model. But will separate men's and women's shows soon be a thing of the past? The next few months will be telling.