MILAN — Sugar and spice and everything nice is no longer just the purview of girls — at least, according to the vision laid out in Milan by Gucci's new creative director Alessandro Michele.
That, too, is what boys are made of, along with lots of lace, ruffles, bows, embroidery, crocheting and floral details that adorned Gucci's menswear looks for next spring and summer.
The menswear collection previewed Monday, on the second day of Milan Fashion Week, is Michele's first in the usual period of planning. When he took over in January after Frida Giannini's abrupt departure, Michele had just five days to pull together a collection.
As it turns out, that earlier line, with its silken bowed poet shirts tied at the neck, was very indicative of Michele's gender-flexible fashion vision — and perhaps even taps into a Zeitgeist in today's Caitlyn Jenner era.
Gucci looks for men included white crocheted shorts with an embroidered butterfly and anchor. Transparent lace shirts with decorative appliques were worn with shiny basketball shorts or athletic pants. Flared pants were paired with glittery sweaters and shirts with pointy collars. A double-breasted suit had a shirt with micro-ruffles and a red flower at the neck.
More traditional designs like the belted Gucci trench coat had applique details like a big snarling cat — one of the season's motifs — and was shown with a red crocheted hat with a pompon. The trench also was worn with a trailing floral scarf.
When Michele did dip into the Gucci archives, he turned those references on their head by making a sailor top out of patterned fabric or embroidering anchor detailing on tops. The red-and-green Gucci stripe circled around a coat like a rainbow motive would have in the 1970s.
As he has done in his past two shows, Michele sent both men and women down the runway, often in similar outfits, as he blurred the lines between genders. Men and women wore the same baggy shorts that shouted skirt on first impact and floral suits were unisex.
The fashion crowd loved it, applauding the entire finale. The real question is if there is a market among men for such finery.
"It felt great," said model Ryan Keating of Toronto who wore pink lace shorts and a pink chiffon top with a rounded collar and red ribbon. "I love it because it is so different from what everyone else is doing."
"I think it's amazing," added model Anton Toftgard of Sweden. "Why couldn't men wear it?"
Of course they were paid to wear Gucci's clothes — but they might just as well be speaking for their generation.