CUTTING THE EDGE
As the shows end around the fashion capitals all over the world, Menswear 2010 seemed promising. Promising freedom is one, change as another and the confusing, almost brain-damaging question: Is menswear borrowing from the girls?
Gerard Gotladera takes you on a mind-boggling read, dissecting and probing the truth behind Menswear Spring 2010's most puzzling trends.
Men.style.com had come up with their 10 trends for Spring 2010---way too much "10s" there, and among others I have noted down three, very prominent trends that I myself have witnessed while clicking through tons and tons of pictures on their site: gladiator sandals, tights under shorts and finally transparency.
To begin with, my sort of disclaimer for this particular post would be the truth that I haven't given reviews to ALL of the shows for Spring 2010. First of all, I couldn't stand the hassle of saving pictures and clicking away on collections that I find boring. Then I have issues with laziness: once I find the reviews from Tim Blanks unsatisfactory, I don't go out of my way to check the collection out for myself. And finally, I clicked on the designers whom I know will showcase great clothes for Spring 2010.
So, whatever opinions I have here, it all came from the collections I've seen and my ONLY source of men's fashion---men.style.com.
Where do I begin? Oh yes, the trends. So, I found out that the trend round-up is done, which obviously signifies the end of men's fashion week. Fendi was missing from all the hype---I was bound to make one Fendi review. It seems like the editors at men.style.com weren't keen on waiting for other, probable collections and most likely, they have the schedules of the shows, so it's pretty final when they post the trends.
Unlike womenswear, menswear has less trends. It's because of the male fashion constraints that limit what men could wear and should not. But with fashion rebels such as Miuccia Prada, who launched her Fall 2008 menswear collection for Prada with male models wearing skirts, the boundaries between what men could wear and shouldn't is now part of the past.
Which is most likely why the collections for Spring 2010 decided that freedom was a good foundation for controversial, if not impossible, clothes to wear.
Freedom came in the form of sheer clothing seen in the runways of Rick Owens, Calvin Klein, Dior Homme and Jean Paul Gaultier to name a few. This need for transparency, as Italo Zucchelli of Calvin Klein speaks of, may have rooted from our fashion counterpart: womenswear, and that sort of thirst for something new for men.
Some other thing to talk about is the existence of gladiator sandals on the runway. I for one am a proud owner of gladiator sandals. Whether or not I deserve applause, I don't care. I remember GQ's Glenn O'Brien a.k.a. Style Guy, talking about sandals for men and that gladiator sandals are to be avoided unless and that is UNLESS you have future engagements with some epic war. From that moment on, I had banned my desires of attaining gladiator sandals. Later on deciding that my feet are good-looking enough to get away with anything (sorry for being conceited), I bought my own pair in brown leather. Givenchy presented black gladiator sandals with gold studs on them for men, pretty much looking like Balmain ones for women. So did Bruno Pieters of Hugo by Hugo Boss, who wrapped his male models' feet with thinly-strapped gladiator sandals. To ground Giorgio Armani's printed looks for Emporio Armani, he created black ones for footwear.
And just to drive home this angle on borrowing from the girls, menswear Spring 2010 wouldn't be complete without the new athletic uniform: shorts + tights. DSquared's camping-esque looks were punctuated and interestingly fashioned with grey tights under khaki shorts. Kris Van Assche opted to lengthen the shorts and add a touch of black tights that were almost impossible to notice. Let me tell you, tights for men, is a growing trend---the rhyming was unintentional. Riccardo Tisci had Spring 2009 all "tight" up for menswear and it was a success.
The incredibly fishy scent that I have been picking up from days and days of menswear viewing is the notion that menswear designers are borrowing from the girls.
We all are aware that the see-through this and that are worn by women. Looking back at some fashion history---which in real time wasn't so long ago, Jil Sander's amazing Spring 2008 collection of gauzy frocks transparent enough to see the female's private parts was one of the biggest trend-setters during that time. Transparency took on the form of lace, where you have Prada's Fall 2008 spectacle of black lace dresses. And then you have Nicolas Ghesquire whom I credit for the gladiator sandal craze, who sent out floral printed dresses with knee-high gladiator shoes. Balmain, the current fashion star is all about ripped, acid-washed jeans and studded gladiator sandals. And should we talk about tights? Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf isn't just limited to her iconic head bands and bows, but also a sucker for colored tights while wearing her school uniform.
What we see now, on men is a change that would make you shiver in delight or convulse in utter fear. Fear that men's fashion is totally turning queer on you. Or shiver in delight cause finally, it's a breath of fresh air. My stand on this one, would shock you.
I am all for classic, timeless dressing and that if money was no question, I'd be spending my days treading the best malls in town in search for the perfect cast of clothes and accessories to star in my timeless wardrobe. And when I mean timeless, I mean basic-on-basic ensembles: the white button down topped with the navy blue suit, the well-tailored trousers and the alligator skinned belts with gold buckles, the perfect black suit that would most likely be from Tom Ford or Ralph Lauren. What I'm trying to say is that my fashion philosophies and the way I dress lean towards the safe, classic side. I'm not one who'll brave the streets wearing tattered shirts with long fronts and weird short backs. I'm not one who'll bounce around in painfully low skinny jeans and don rainbow colored Nike dunks (by the way I have nothing against this sort of fashion) just to show my love for fashion. I'm safe, clean and classic.
BUT, I do believe that what's going on in the fashion world---in the men's fashion world, isn't exactly change. It's more of a reinforcement of past's fashion. Back in the days, Shakespearian people did wear tights. In fact it was the men who first wore tights and not the women. With their junk danggling all around in tights and heavily embroidered tops, today, they'll look like idiots and homosexuals gone way too tranny. And as I remember, the combination of tights under shorts isn't exactly new. For some odd reason, somewhere deep inside my memory, I could see basketball players wearing them. I don't know why. Doutzen Kroes' gym trainer, the boxer Michael Olajide trains his supermodel client wearing black shorts and underneath them, black tights. And to think this Olajide isn't exactly a fashion person. When it comes to gladiator sandals, the reason why we associate these items with womenswear is because it's what's IN in their world. Do you really see at least 50% of men walking around in gladiator sandals? Do you see fathers who run companies, out on Sunday breakfast wearing gladiator sandals? Of course not. Only the fashion brave are brave enough to wear them. And that's because now, more women wear them than we do. But the name itself, the name itself tells you that it originated from epic warriors---I wonder what Glenn O'Brienn has to say about this trend, who were straighter men than your rulers who fought for Rome and Greece and those other countries that were in deep, epic turmoil centuries ago. Russel Crowe who starred in the great movie The Gladiator was wearing them and there was nothing feminine about it. If you're not satisfied, let me dish out the epitome of decent and pure masculinity: Jesus. As much as I hate to involve the divine being in this fashion discussion, I can't help it. Jesus was the first person who popped in my mind when I was looking at the sandals on Givenchy's runway. And not Jesus Luz, who in fact wore one of the gold studded pairs on the show. But Jesus the Savior. In their time, what was fashionable and practical and politically right was to wear these strappy sandals that do look like they could pass for gladiatorness.
But with the sheer, transparent trend, I have nothing to back that up and prove that it's masculine. In my opinion, I believe that was indeed borrowed from the girls. And I for one think it's not a big deal. A transparent black Dior Homme suit worn out for a summer night wouldn't be bad you know. Just make sure you know how to work it and that you don't have flabby arms like I do.
At the end of the day---and at the end of this month's CUTTING THE EDGE post, you'll see that there has been more instances when the women borrow from us. The trousers, the suit, the black, the biker jacket, those tights, those gladiator sandals...I hate to be one sexist, but don't you think we should be running the fashion world? I mean, if the women have been borrowing from us more, then why shouldn't we? Of course I'm joking. It just goes to show that fashion yesterday, today and tomorrow won't simply be about borrowing from whoever, but dressing up our naked bodies and making sure we look a little more respectable and fashionable.