Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The aesthetics that THE EDGE subscribes to might always be the classic, timeless style, but once in a blue moon, Gerard Gotladera digs up his inner youngin and finds a peculiar attraction to the anti-thesis of classic and timeless. Spring 2010 brought about handsome clothes in serious shape like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Raf Simons. On the other hand, there was the fun, energetic and youthful vibe of the campin' tribe at DSquared2. As to why Gerard Gotladera finds DSquared2 one cool collection for Spring 2010, you'd have to find out.

Once and a while, we consider taking a breather from dapper, clean, head-to-toe polish, even if it is intrinsically what your soul finds comfort in. There is so much we invest in on looking put-together, that we forget our youth and the value of freedom and fun. Of course, I'm talking for myself here---if there are others who could relate, give me five!, and how at times, I don't feel like dressing up like myself. I've been fancying rain gear lately, thanks to a tropical weather as fickle as the minds of women, and the rain gear/parkas I keep safe here at home are both from my grandfather and my father. My grandfather has a puffy parka that's half white and half red with a blue inner flap that does my body amazingly. I've never worn it out just because Filipinos might take me for a news reporter or a weather man. My dad's is a slimmer, lighter version from Nike with striking colors such as blue green, black and white. Sans an old, blue ink blot ruining a certain white portion of the rain gear, it's in mint condition. And whenever I try them on in the privacy of my room, I feel so cool. It reminds me of models on runways, who sport parkas with high collars and look even more emaciated with such wonderful rain gear. Not to mention it gives me a new style---because I've been engaged to the cardigan for too long. And right in the nick of time, DSquared2 for Spring 2010 came along. I have to admit how DSquared2 appeals to me as gaudy and too fetishists (as Tim Blanks of men.style.com notes). It never really dawned on me that my secret inclination to sporty, colorful style would be magically satisfied by the mega duo Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2.

DSquared2 might strike the common man as too homosexual, too sexual and verging on light pornography (due to the tiny trunks and the omnipresence of half-naked dudes parading around EVERY SINGLE SEASON), but when you take a closer look and pass the flesh and muscle, there's actual substance and a new style to Spring 2010's camping-themed collection. Gone were the days when all the fashion cognoscenti could extract from the works of the designers were about war and being sporty and looking back to the most outdated trend of futurism. It's such a downer to read reviews with quotes that would sound like: "this season, blah blah blah, conjured up the idea of going to war in blah blah blah" or "men are now given the latest uniform of American Sportswear in this and that..." or "the future is now as these designers pay tribute to futurism and whatever...". It's all been said and done. Calvin Klein is a good example. Despite the genius that is Francisco Costa and my undying love for the American label, all they do is spend so much time on giving new angles to American Sportswear and sometimes, Costa fails. Which is primarily the reason why I had fallen trap to the virility and youth of DSquared2.
The story behind the massive 40 plus collection of the twins was about a summer camping trip outdoors. Surely, you might say that camping as an inspiration has been a rehash or a twist on, I don't know, safari-inspired style let's say, because it's plausible to point out that Bear Grylls (who's a mighty cool camper) indeed wears safari shirts for camping. And that the concept of the safari as inspiration is also a tiring subject to talk about. But what I've notice while viewing the collection was the abscence of the safari shirt. There was a blue one that could pass for a safari shirt, but it lacked the elements of a safari shirt (the button here, the common khaki color, etc.). Also, a safari-inspired collection would mostly revolve around colors that range from navy blue, a certain army green to the eternal khaki. To prove the point that this collection is not a safari collection not only lies on the colors and the quintessential safari uniform---which is the safari shirt, but on the look of the clothes itself. Would safari-inspired collections use words on their jackets like "CAMP-A-LOT" or make use of cheeky embelishments like patches of numbers and silly nothings? Definitely not! When you think of safari-inspired collections you go think of Ralph Lauren and Hermes, which both had done this year for womenswear. Safari-inspired clothes are sophisticated and extremely polished looking, think Indiana Jones. Don't get me wrong, I am not bashing the trend, I'm just saying that DSquared2 is not a safari-inspired collection. It is in fact a camping themed look that makes handsome use of strong colors like yellow, red, orange, purple, sea green...colors that are full and sort of rubs on the eyes. It is a collection that is vibrant, young and fresh. Not to mention masculine. The camping might not be of my interest, but I do know that camping is a truly male project, where fathers and sons could talk about life, fish for trout (or whatever fish there is to find) and if lucky enough, spot a grizzly bear napping after a meal. Of course, camping in the Philippines calls for different pictures like the weather and the animals. Do we have deers here? Back to the topic. DSquared2 gave The Northface a more fashionable competition, through layering of cool parkas and tiny shorts lengthened by grey leggings down to one of the best accessories of Spring 2010 for menswear: rain boots in neutral colors accented by double socks in crayola hues. Not only were all the looks of real camping relevance, but also the other accessories that came in weather-proof materials. The most miniature of details give proof to the camping-theme: vests are strapped with velcro, bags come in utilitarian form, etc.
What took the show to a whole new level was the brilliance of mixing already existing ideas and inspirations to come up with a seemingly fresh concept on male fashion. You could see that the bulk of the collection takes on---in a general category, sportswear. You could see touches of American fashion with the plaids for example (and the concept itself of camping). It gives chic and sporty a whole new name. Tim Blanks described the collection as "sloppy chic", which I find attractive. My idea of sloppy chic is Chloe for women's wear, where you have slouchy garments and loose pieces all composing a put-together look that is sloppy BUT chic. DSquared2 did achieve that by producing looks that are messy in its own quirky way and still achieve a beauty and polish to it. What I do have to say though is that despite the seemingly effortless styling of the clothes, it is a headache to imagine putting on the look in real life. Layering of socks already is tiring, what more putting on those boots, pulling the waist band low enough to exhibit those boxer bands and folding those already tiny shorts into tinier versions just so we could accomodate the grey leggings? Ideally, such styling aims aesthetics. And ideally, you wouldn't go about town looking like this, right? What is there then to take from the collection? First off it's the energy. We've been tied down to serious and passive for a long time now (no wonder freedom was a common theme for Menswear), that sort of too polished, elegant look. I think it's about time men started dressing up because they want to have fun and look cool. Second, it's the youth. I am guilty of mocking the younger generations for looking so tight or way too loose, but the beauty of DSquared2 for Spring 2010 is their new spin on youth. And finally, it's simply the existence of this collection that SHOULD inspire us to not take life (and fashion) so seriously. It won't hurt to change it up a bit, add some color here and there and IF possible, take off your shirt for all to see . That last one was a joke. I might not be the biggest outdoor person in the world, that's for sure, but after this collection, a trip to the great forests of America suddenly sounded like an opportunity to actually dress up and have fun. Who's up for camping?

(photos: frillr.com & men.style.com, review taken from men.style.com written by Tim Blanks)

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