If there's one thing that's crystal clear in all of Alessandro Michele's collections, it's that the modern Gucci is all about enhancing individuality. The designs create an eclectic vision of chic quirkiness that blends effortlessly with streetwear-ready accessories, and the brand as a whole pushes gender boundaries at a time when the surrounding culture craves it most. So it made perfect sense when, after Spring 2017, Michele showed his men's and women's collections in a combined format for several seasons. Yet now the designer has returned to Milan Fashion Week Men's to show his Gucci Men's Fall 2020 collection on its own, and at the turn of the decade, it feels just as meant to be.
For his grand return to men's fashion month, which a select group watched in Milan as fashion people around the world streamed it live, Michele looked to deconstruct stereotypical masculinity. At the surface, that's a goal one can apply to many of menswear's most forward-thinking designers, but the Gucci artistic director has an incredibly researched proposal: masculine as a plural. True to his oeuvre, Michele proposes that menswear becomes about self-determination, releasing the normative model entirely to allow for a positive new era of self-discovery.
In the collection, he revisited past motifs, but always to explore them deeper rather than try to bring back a season past. Among details that carved out the new masculinity were jagged necklaces, floral scarves, and pants that glisten like Gucci Beauty's lipstick collection, and a string of quirky schoolboy-inspired looks found a way to make shorts and crew socks feel like a mature pairing - because after all, shouldn't we all grow up into the best versions of ourselves, rather than whatever one's given time and place attempts to prescribe?
The show space kept Michele's revolutionary message central to viewers' experience, as a giant pendulum swung across the dark space while models walked the perimeter. No matter where on the spectrum of gender presentation we identify, we all have days when we dress more masculine or more feminine, and the Gucci Fall 2020 men's collection shows many possibilities in flowing between the two, and in finding ways to rework past favourites in favour of deepening one's current sense of self. A season after Gucci went carbon neutral, perhaps Michele even has sustainability in mind with this concept: if individuality is the priority in fashion, it may become about collecting an array of statement pieces to keep forever, rather than completely changing aesthetics each season.
In an age when red-carpet dressing bends gender boundaries more than ever before and it's increasingly hard to pinpoint a singular trend of the moment, 2020 seems to be the perfect time for Michele's masculinity revolution.
See all the looks from the Gucci Men's Fall 2020 collection below: