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At Gucci, the pendulum swings both ways

The higher you lift a pendulum in one direction, the more powerful the swing to the other side. It’s an easy metaphor to relay, as is liking one side more than the other, or trying to control the swing, or the notion of resistance.

At Gucci’s first stand alone menswear show in Milan on Tuesday, a nonlinear perspective of masculinity was arranged in time-related stages. There were knickerbockers and mary-jane schoolgirl shoes, but for boys; there were Peter Pan-collared dresses and high waisted shorts with pulled up socks of the knitted kind, also for boys. And a feminine pale blue coat not out of place in your grandmother’s wardrobe, shown on the catwalk on a guy, you get the gist.

A new narrative in menswear

Alessandro Michele has changed the lexicon of masculinity from his very first Gucci collection five years ago, when he proposed men could wear pussy-bow blouses, furry slippers and crocheted, frilled and other pretty details that blurred the notion of gender specific garments.

What it means to be a man and dress like a man in 2020 is complex, but a paradigm shift has occurred in the past few years where a boy in a dress and heels, embracing his feminine side through fashion, is well, perfectly normal.

Whatever one’s taste on the pendulum of masculinity, there was something on the Gucci runway for both. Grungy denim, ripped jeans and oversized cardigans reminisced of Kurt Cobain. Slogan t-shirts with the captions “impotence and “impatient” created in collaboration with iconoclast punk rocker Richard Hell will be bought by all sorts at retail. The baby doll dresses may be a statement against toxic masculinity, but the fluffy sweaters and cropped tops have been a hit since Michele’s debut in 2015. A collaboration with iconic British brand and retailer Liberty saw prints on classic handbags, puffa jackets, and dresses.

Backstage, Michele told Vogue: “This is not a narrative that excludes or rules out mainstream masculinity; on the contrary, I want to talk about how complex it is to be a man. And this means growing up maybe in a different way because the world of men is very diverse and full of different elements like the feminine world.”

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Gucci. / Cover photo of Kevin Tachman, courtesy of Gucci. / Closing photograph of Anton Gottlob, courtesy of Gucci.

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