Gucci quits fashion week and criticises 'worn-out ritual' of seasonal shows

Sarah Young

Runway fashion shows? They are so last year, according to Gucci.

In news that will send shock waves through the fashion industry, the luxury Italian powerhouse has announced that it is officially stepping away from fashion week and the concept of seasonal shows.

In a virtual press conference broadcast from his Rome studio, the brand’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, announced that Gucci is reducing the number of fashion shows it holds each year from five to just two.

Commenting on the fashion calendar, Michele said he would no longer adhere to the rota of spring/summer, autumn/winter, cruise and pre-fall shows, saying: “I think these are stale and underfed words. Clothes should have a longer life than that which these words attribute to them.

“So much outrageous greed made us lose the harmony and the care, the connection and the belonging.”

The comments followed a series of personal diary entries posted on Gucci's Instagram account in which Michele said he feels the “need of a different time, released from other-imposed deadlines that risk to humiliate creativity”.

“I will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, close to my expressive call,” Michele wrote.

“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.”

Currently, Gucci has no plans to host a fashion show in September, when the Gucci collection would normally be staged as part of Milan Fashion Week.

Saint Laurent, also owned by Kering, Gucci's parent company, has previously suggested it too is considering leaving the fashion calendar behind.

In a statement last month, its head designer, Anthony Vaccarello, said the brand would “take control” of the fashion schedule, “conscious of the current circumstances and its waves of radical change”.

Over the past few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the fashion industry to consider its future, with a host of designers and industry leaders calling for change.

Earlier this month, a number of major fashion brands, including Dries Van Noten, Erdem, Altuzarra and Proenza Schouler, signed an open letter that proposed a clear plan to transform the fashion industry by switching the seasonal calendar around and cutting back on sales.

“Put the autumn/winter season back in winter (August/January) and spring/summer season back in summer (February/July),” the letter read.

“Create a more balanced flow of deliveries through the season to provide newness but also time for products to create desire. Finally, discount at the end of the season in order to allow for more full-price selling – January for autumn/winter and July for spring/summer.”

Elsewhere, the British Fashion Council confirmed that a new digital version of London Fashion Week is being launched during the previously scheduled dates for London Fashion Week: Men’s – which was due to take place between 12 and 14 June 2020 – in light of the pandemic.

Instead of physical shows, the event will be completely digital, with content such as interviews, podcasts and digital showrooms rolling out on londonfashionweek.co.uk.

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