The trend was already in the air and on the streets. SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL previously reported on this topic (“Wanna have unisex?”, page 62, issue September 2014), showing how forward-minded fashion cities and streetwear brands such as Hood by Air, 5Preview, Les Expatriés, Public School and Sis by Spijkers & Spijkers were showing looks based on the idea that anyone can dress and look like the other sex - or any other gender. Now this trend has also overtly appeared during the January 2015 Milan menswear catwalks showing how menswear can influence womenswear -and vice versa– but also giving established brands greater freshness and somehow a teenage attitude, similarly to those of kids whose identity is not completely defined.

The Gucci menswear collection newly designed by Alessandro Michele, former right arm of Frida Giannini and new creative director of the brand, astonished everyone by presenting this dreamy ambiguity: “It’s an attitude not a silhouette,” he explained. “This new collection is a point of departure that blurs the masculine/feminine divide and champions the youthful energy and natural confidence of today’s urbanites,” explained the designer who sent pale long-haired men on the catwalk wearing bow-tie silk and lace blouses, mink cuffed coats and volant edged tops, while bold faced women models wore heavy coats, essential straight long jackets and wide pleated trousers.

Also Giorgio Armani presented couples of men and women wearing almost the same styles and the same smokey eyes and transparent lip-gloss make-up. Similarly Prada presented a catwalk show showing 30 male and 20 female models. Costume National played with the idea of gender-less looks of rockers made up of fitted suits, and feather and fur coats worn on skinny trousers.

Generally androgynity is also recalling attention. Actress Tilda Swinton participated in the performance Cloakroom held at the last Pitti Uomo. Or, the opposite way around, bearded singer Conchita Wurst received the Eurovision prize while wearing a lamé dress and high-heels only a few months ago.

All these phenomena can be interpreted in many ways such as, for instance, indicating a general loss of identity for both sexes. At the same time everyone is searching for new balance and new ways to communicate with each other. And if on the one side women tend to show their boldest face (perhaps as an instinct for protecting themselves from increased violence episodes), men prefer to show their least harmful and tender soul side. It could be an escamotage that helps doing away with the idea of “normcore” that long lasting fashion can become boring and slow sales down.

Another explanation lays in “Menaissance”, a new-born term and a mix between the words “men” and “renaissance”, indicating how menswear has been growing at a much faster pace than womenswear in the last years. Very simply men are statistically spending more on fashion and the market wants to offer its new target the widest offer of products that fits their taste best and expresses their personality or state of mind. Boy meets girl was never so cool.