MILAN (Reuters) - Italian luxury brand Gucci announced on Tuesday it will unify its women's and men's collections starting from next year in an effort to simplify the designer's business.
The first show combining womenswear and menswear will be at Gucci's new Milan headquarters, President and Chief Executive Marco Bizzarri said in a company statement.
It did not specify when the show will be scheduled, but a source close to Gucci told Reuters it was likely to be during the women's Fashion Week, the one receiving most attention from both media and buyers.
The decision comes amid a growing debate in the fashion industry over the need to combine collections, condense dates for shows as well as putting items on sale immediately after the catwalk presentations..
The Florence-based brand, part of the Kering group, is following in the steps of Britain's Burberry group, which said last November that it would bring its collections under a single brand.
Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, who was promoted to the job in January last year, said it was a "natural" step but "not necessarily an easy path and will certainly present some challenges".
The company, however, said it will maintain the 'see now, buy later' schedule by which collections do not land in shops immediately after shows, "respecting the necessities of the creative and production process in luxury fashion."
Bizzarri said that the separate dates for the two collections was "a result of tradition rather than practicality" and that the brand would work with the Italian Chamber of Fashion to define the new calendar of dates.
Reporting by Giulia Segreti and Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Tom Heneghan