MILAN (AFP) - Gucci is taking its recent embrace of androgynous looks to its natural conclusion by combining its womenswear and menswear collections into unified catwalk shows from next year.
The move, which could herald the end of the current system of separate menswear and womenswear weeks in the style capitals of the world, is the latest bold step by Alessandro Michele, the creative director credited with putting Gucci back at the top of the fashion tree.
It was announced by Gucci President and CEO Marco Bizzarri at the New York Times International Luxury Conference in Versailles, France.
The first unified show will take place at Gucci's new Milan headquarters at Via Mecenate - but the crucial issue of the timing of the collection has yet to be worked out.
Michele said: "It seems only natural to me to present my men's and women's collections together. It's the way I see the world today. It will not necessarily be an easy path and will certainly present some challenges, but I believe it will give me the chance to move towards a different kind of approach to my story telling."
The Gucci move comes as fashion's established calendar is under pressure from the "see now, buy now" trend which has seen some leading brands start releasing their clothes immediately they appear on the catwalk rather than at the start of the season they are intended for, typically four months after the catwalk shows.
Gucci said it would not be joining that trend, citing "the necessities of the creative and production process in luxury fashion."
Bizzarri added: "Alessandro Michele has in fact always presented his men's and women's collections together, so this is a very natural progression. Moving to one show each season will significantly help to simplify many aspects of our business.
"Maintaining two separate, disconnected calendars has been a result of tradition rather than practicality."