What Gucci Has to Say About Toxic Masculinity

Gucci, the high-end luxury brand, is frequently known for pushing boundaries and straying from social norms in the world of fashion. They have produced fashion pieces for runways that speak on political issues, such as abortion laws, as well as created a collection runway using both male and female models. These progressive strides in the industry are all thanks to the eclectic supervision of the creative director, Alessandro Michele. So, when Gucci launched their Fall/Winter 2020 Collection, it was to no surprise that they were going to break another social barrier: toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity, in short, is the demonstration of masculine (and sometimes violent) stereotypes. Gucci used this common characteristic and stripped it down to its core. In the notes for the collection, Gucci encourages the celebration of men to be their true self, without social constraints. The tagline for the collection, “Rave Like You Are Five,” is not only an homage to Alessandro Michele’s fifth year as the creative director for Gucci, but it also pays tribute to the themes of the collection. The vision behind #RaveLikeYouAreFive speaks to their message on toxic masculinity by pushing for “a man who is able to reconnect with his core of fragility, with his trembling and his tenderness.” Gucci’s goal is to get to the root of the man that is bold, playful and full of kindness and care through the art of fashion.

Courtesy: @Gucci on Instagram

One notable look presented on the runway was a t-shirt with the words “impotent” and “impatient” overlapping. Gucci has yet again pushed boundaries on social issues with this controversial tee. The use of the words overlapping was meant to portray a self-proclamation that can reflect a vulnerable side of men and reject toxic ideals. Although it is uncertain whether or not men will advertise impotency on their clothes, it does speak to a greater issue that, if accepted, could result in a huge shift in society. 

Courtesy: Vogue

The lack of subtlety in the reflection of toxic masculinity portrayed in their collections comes as no surprise because this is a strong element in the culture of Gucci. Gucci has a history of bending the “rules” of gender in fashion and as Michele often says, it is important for people to “embrace a genderless form of beauty.” Gucci has presented these ideals not just with their collections and gender-neutral runways, but also with their testimonials. Harry Styles, who is the face of Gucci Beauty: Memoir, uses clothing and accessories by Gucci to reflect his own personal style. He is not only friends with Michele, but he also is influenced by his (and Gucci’s) style. Painted nails, eccentric rings, heeled boots and flowy tops, are just some elements that are trademark Harry Styles and a significant part of this neutral wardrobe comes from Gucci’s collection. 

Gucci is, and will continue to, break barriers and reach new heights in the world of fashion. Their influence in the industry under Michele will only persist and speak to greater issues of the world. Their take on toxic masculinity is just another step in proving they’re not just a brand, but a voice. Toxic masculinity is a social construct that has just recently been acknowledged in society. Referencing Gucci’s notes for the collection, “it’s time to celebrate a man who is free to practice self-determination, without social constraints, without authoritarian sanctions, without suffocating stereotypes.”

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