Gucci, Saint Laurent + More Big Names Shaking Up the Fashion System

On Monday, Kering powerhouse Gucci put its multi-billion dollar might behind a colossal shake up of the fashion and retail system.

Alessandro Michele’s in-depth statement follows changes proposed by Armani, Saint Laurent, The British Fashion Council, The Council of Fashion Designers of America and a consortium of designers and retailers led by Dries van Noten. Here FN summarizes the key takeaways from each, what it means for the fashion industry and why it matters.

Gucci

Having posted a series of his confinement diary entries on the brand’s Instagram at the weekend, artistic director Alessandro Michele hosted a virtual press conference Monday from his Rome atelier.

HOW THE BRAND WILL SHOW GOING FORWARD: Gucci will show only twice a year instead of five times. Shows will be coed and will generally take place in fall and spring. But the outings will likely fall outside the parameters of the traditional fashion calendar.

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HOW WE WILL SHOP: Michele urged that collections should remain in stores for a longer period of time, and announced that he will also debut a new gender fluid shopping area in stores called MX.

NEXT UP: The traditional Gucci cruise collection will be presented July 17 in a digital format to take place during Milan Digital Fashion Week. The cast will comprise the team from Michele’s own office as opposed to traditional models.

WHY IT MATTERS: Gucci’s revenue for 2019 was some $10.5 billion — making it the most profitable brand in Kering’s luxury conglomerate. Under Michele, it has also been vastly influential in changing consumer perceptions of genderless fashion. Where Gucci leads others will surely follow.

Gucci fall 2020 show during Milan Fashion Week.
Gucci fall 2020 show during Milan Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Rex / Shutterstock

Saint Laurent

The Kering-owned brand created a ripple effect in April when it announced its intention to reshape the show schedule.

HOW THE BRAND WILL SHOW GOING FORWARD: Saint Laurent plans to present its collections according to its “own rhythm.”

NEXT UP:   After stating that he will not show in line with the traditional 2020 calendar, creative director Anthony Vaccarello left his plans open ended in terms of when and how collections will be presented going forward.

WHY IT MATTERS: The brand’s Paris Fashion Week runway show held in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower was a key fixture on the schedule, and its absence will also make for a powerful statement.

saint laurent, fall 2020, paris fashion week
A dramatic play of light and shadows on the runway at Saint Laurent fall ’20.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Armani

The eponymous designer cancelled his February show, live streaming the event from an empty theater on the last day of Milan Fashion Week as coronavirus started to impact the city.

HOW THE BRANDS WILL SHOW GOING FORWARD: Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani men’s and women’s collections will be shown in September in Milan. The format is being defined. The Armani Privé couture show, which usually takes place in July, will be postponed to January 2021 and also held in Milan.

CRUISE COLLECTIONS: While didn’t say he will eschew the season completely, he did term such “grandiose shows” as “a bit inappropriate, and even a tad vulgar” and “ultimately meaningless wastes of money.” They should be reserved for “special occasions.”

HOW WE WILL SHOP: The brand has proposed a step away from the accustomed retail calendar and delivery cycle, realigning instead with actual seasons. Summer collections will remain in boutiques at least until September. The Privé collection will be seasonless, including both heavier and lighter garments. 

WHY IT MATTERS: Armani was the first to determine the way the pandemic wind was blowing and, as such, opened up a much needed conversation.

BFC and CFDA

The British Fashion Council and Council of Fashion Designers of America issued a joint statement last week  bodies have endorsed resetting “the way in which we work and show our collections.” 

HOW TO SHOW GOING FORWARD:  Designers should focus on two main collections a year, showing during the regular fashion calendar in one of the established global fashion capitals to minimize on unnecessary travel.

PRE-COLLECTIONS: When not sufficient to warrant a show in their own right, showroom presentations are preferred.

HOW TO SELL: Brands should reconsider how much they produce and how often they deliver. They should also shift deliveries closer to the intended season.

WHY IT MATTERS: It’s important that fashion’s governing bodies send out a message of unity to the businesses they represent.

The Dries van Noten Consortium

The Belgian designer is leading a consortium of designers, CEOs and retailers — and posted an open letter to the industry May 12 calling for a radical overhaul of the established retail calendar.

HOW TO SELL: The groups called for deliveries to be realigned with the actual seasons so fall/winter merchandising would take place between August and January, and spring/summer between February and July. A discount period would be set for the end of the season in question as opposed to mid-season sales.

HOW TO SHOW: It advised that brands make use of digital showrooms and review and adapt fashion shows to minimize unnecessary travel.

WHY IT MATTERS: Any change in the sales calendar needs the support of leading global retailers to and signatories here include Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Lane Crawford, Selfridges, La Rinascente and e-tailors Mytheresa and Ssense.

dries van noten, fall 2020, paris fashion week, trends
Blue-and-black checks at Dries Van Noten fall ’20.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

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