If any one designer can take credit for revolutionising menswear, it is Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, who made his runway debut as creative director five years ago with a menswear collection that challenged masculine codes. This week’s menswear previews for Fall/Winter 2020-21 confirmed the shifting conversation around men’s dressing. Designers across the spectrum made clear that introducing feminine elements to a man’s wardrobe – in colours, silhouettes and textiles – is a durable trend into the new decade. Did Gucci make light of mental illness on the runway? “I don’t want to give the impression I want to deconstruct or destroy the masculine world. I want to enlarge it,’’ Michele told reporters after Gucci closed five days of mostly menswear previews for Fall/Winter 2020/21. Michele is inviting his Gucci tribe to discover their inner child and “relearn” what it is to be masculine. “Stereotypical ways of being masculine are dangerous to men and dangerous to women,’’ Michele told reporters. In show notes, a sort of manifesto written like a homework assignment on lined composition paper, Michele amplified the point, saying masculinity “is often moulded by violently toxic stereotypes’’ and that “any possible reference to femininity is aggressively banned, as it is considered a threat”. STYLE Edit: Why Chinese actress Ni Ni can’t stop wearing Gucci Michele’s first five years at Gucci have led the way to blurrier gender lines in Milan luxury fashion, while also recognising overlooked or marginalised groups beyond traditional gender norms. But the strong tones in his manifesto also belied frustration at the pace of progress, and his invitation to return to childhood innocence to establish new gender codes suggested that the only way forward is to go back and start over. The validity of his manifesto is clear in the still-mounting #MeToo movement – strong in the US, but non-existent in Gucci’s native Italy. Alessandro Michele intrigues as Gucci ‘masked ball’ opens Milan Fashion Week On the runway, Michele’s approach is more flower power than overt revolution: there are no hard edges, and slogans are gentle provocations. “Impatience/Impotence”, reads one T-shirt, a collaboration with punk rocker and writer Richard Hell. “Think/Thank’’ another. A second runway collaboration, with Liberty London, got to the point with floral prints on men’s tunics or the fashion house’s coveted handbags. Other bags taunted luxury counterfeiters with “FAKE” emblazoned on one side, and “NOT” on the other. Michele’s return to childhood included a sort of Alice in Wonderland journey through the rabbit hole, with clothes made to look too small, like a tiny boy’s suit that he had grown out of, or too big, like oversized T-shirts, plaid shirts and jeans that looked like hand-me-downs he was still growing into. Women similarly wore tiny smocked dresses over bloomers, which men in turn wore over ripped jeans. There were no blousy shirts with big bows like those from Michele’s debut runway show, which set off the Gucci disruption. But men wore big jewelled necklaces over business suits, cropped knitwear naively embroidered with baby chicks, and finished looks with buckled Mary Jane shoes and perforated socks. Suits included boyish shorts or knickerbockers more often than a trouser. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .