In January, Gucci’s menswear runway collection was an eye-opener. It wasn’t because the brand had just fired its nearly decadelong creative director Frida Giannini in December, or even because new designer Alessandro Michele had pulled the clothing together in less than a week in his new role. It was because the men on the runway looked … like women. A model at the fall 2015 Gucci show in Milan wore the brand’s floppy-bow, silk blouse.Photographer: Victor Virgile/Getty Images In fact, some of them were women—an increasing trend in menswear shows. Models of both genders—waifish male models and boyish female models alike—were wearing silhouettes, fabrications, and items of clothing that traditionally appear in womenswear collections. Michele’s deliberately ambiguous outfits featured massive pussycat bow blouses, shrunken jackets, and low-slung, wide-leg trousers—on willowy models with matching soft features and lengthy, undone hair. And just like that, this change in creative direction became symbolic of an industrywide trend—and Michele the movement’s unofficial leader. A shift toward androgyny has been building over the past two years, and with Gucci’s new experimental take, it has hit its stride. (It’s worth noting that the recently slumping Gucci just reported its first sales growth in two years, a 4.6 percent increase for the second quarter of 2015—up from a 7.9 percent decrease in the first quarter.) Gender-bending is nothing new in fashion or pop culture. But in large-scale, high-end fashion, the theme has not been conveyed as loudly or as frequently since, well, a young Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Marc Bolan toyed with feminized looks in the late 1960s. But today, thanks to a troupe of contemporary designers—such as Rick Owens and J.W. Anderson—this theme of gender-neutral dress has been reimagined.
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