Unmanned craft: Much fun in fashion’s latest mischief
A pervasive element of cross-dressing infuses most of this season’s major collections
Under different circumstances, Milano Moda Uomo, the men’s fashion week that precedes the main exhibition by almost a month in January, might have unfolded this year as the final vestiges of a tradition on the decline. But not so in 2020: with the explosive return of such megaliths as Alessandro Michele’s Gucci to the runway, unadulterated menswear shows might be making an unexpected comeback after three or four successive years of foregoing separate ceremonies in favour of “co-ed” presentations on the main stages of the women’s events.
That men are one of the largest growing bases in the consumption of designer clothing, particularly in China, cannot be overlooked as a driving force behind the resurgence of menswear as a self-consciously independent entity. Indeed, according to Carlo Capasa, the president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, “the menswear sector is accelerating faster than the women’s”: the clamour for luxury streetwear, in particular, attests to a cultural climate in which a niche of men under the age of 35 are prepared to invest in clothing as they would once have invested in art.
Given that male consumers still wield more capital than do their feminine counterparts, the major players are savvy to adapt their showcases accordingly, even if, symbolically, the move away from heterogeneous runways reads like an untimely regression...