Rome, July 23 - Gender roles are getting mixed up in fashion this summer.
Menswear for womenswear has been elevated from passing trend to de facto must and this summer is no exception.
The androgynous style has become a hot commodity and key men's items are now wardrobe staples for women, even as temperatures soar and more skin is bared.
The classic menswear shirt, for one, is catching the spotlight.
Whether feminized as a shirtdress with soft materials and elongated silhouettes, or remaining boyish, this summer is all about reworking the menswear shirt. Fendi gave its colorful shirtdresses minimalistic elegance while Trussardi vied for a streamlined, boho vibe.
Liu Jo took this menswear staple and gave it a strong feminine spin. Stella Jean stayed true to the classic, striped Oxford shirt, mixing it with wax prints in her trademark recipe of European and West African silhouettes and graphic designs.
Indeed, prints played a role in bringing masculine spice to this summer's feminine outfits, with houndstooth and plaids adding graphic interest at a number of labels, including Aspesi, not to mention French best-selling brands such as Isabel Marant.
Not even the jacket and short combo was reserved for men.
The king of Italian fashion, Giorgio Armani, designed gusty city suits with shorts.
Fabrics that started off sheer, steadily wrapped the body in enveloping volumes.
Shorts also played a lead role at Emilio Pucci, teamed with an oversized jacket over a sheer top or with a graphically designed oversized top.
And co-ed sportswear, which has long graced street-styles, also became a major hit at high-end brands this season.
One of the lead stories for summer, the athletic trend, was brimming at Gucci as Frida Giannini took the label's collection in a sporty new direction with T-shirts, basketball shorts and track pants.
Gucci elevated athletic clothes to new deluxe levels, much like Marni, which complemented the look with clever accessorizing, including sophisticated elastic belts.
A blazer worn over boxing shorts, a rugby-striped belt cinching a jumpsuit, and a statement dress combined with sporty leg warmers - seen at Prada - added new flavor to the sporty look. The unisex, athletic storyline was complemented with accessories like chunky skater shoes and high-top sneakers, seen at hot Milan label MSGM, as well as Panama hats from cult brands including Borsalino.
And the ultimate guide to cutting the gender boundary for seasons to come came from Miuccia Prada, who served a high fashion version of the "his-and-hers" trend last month at Milan's men's fashion week with 1950s denim cuts and sports jackets donned by male and female models.
Prada, one of fashion's most forward-thinking designers, said cutting through the gender line gives her a sense of what is meaningful and real.
Her spring-summer collection for him and her next year was like "taking stock of what counts with items that are so classic they look incredibly new".