Gucci Fall/Winter 2020 Men’s. Milan, Italy.

Editor's Notes

Due to its ubiquity, defining the "Gucci man" is a thankless task. It's a brand beloved by millionaire footballers, streetwear kids, fashion editors, and drug dealers alike. (Oh, and e-Sports gamers, apparently.) Why? Because those green and red stripes telegraph a feeling of power and prestige unmatched by any other brand in fashion. Ironically, it's power —namely the toxic male kind — which Alessandro Michele seeks to dismantle through clothing, as supported by his FW20 collection that urged the world to consider a new, vulnerable kind of masculinity.

Returning to Milan Fashion Week Men's after several seasons of co-ed shows, Michele's pre-show notes did not feel like a rebuttal of traditional male gender norms, rather, it was a declaration of all-out war against them (see the pointed word choice: "oppressors," "macho," phallocratic"). Here, we weren't shown the ideal of a new man, but the liberation of the constrained man buried within a lot of guys, assumedly straight ones. Michele seeks to unleash a person who isn't afraid to wear blouses and petal silks; who accessorizes with diamond jewelry; who would freely admit his top Spotify artist is Carly Rae Jepsen.

This was reflected in the garb. The more effeminate (or, in some cases, entirely feminine) looks were offset by some of the usual Gucci devilish: monogram bags vandalized with the word "FAKE," disco-influenced pants, and outrageous animal print coats. It was a stark contrast to the Marilyn Manson soundtrack blaring through the speakers. But perhaps the antithesis to toxic masculinity is self-aware femininity? There was also a tidy pair of sneakers — they looked a bit like Salomons to me — the clean kind you could easily envisage breaking through to mainstream audiences in the vein of the Rhyton.

Will Michele succeed in his mission where wider male fashion is concerned any time soon (bear in mind this is an arena still getting to grips with transparent shirting and painted nails)? Who knows. Maybe the  "Gucci man" has been a  Gen-Z icon like Harry Styles all along. Regardless, Michele, one of the great provocateurs of our times, certainly has the fever for battle. Game, blouses.

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