Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Raining Men

I've totally been slacking on my posts about the menswear shows in Milan, and now Paris. I don't know how Tim Blanks does it! (Let me just whine and moan a bit here......why in the world would they have the men's shows on, but have the reviews It's completely counter intuitive. I suppose they're guessing it's actually women who read the real reviews, and men are happy enough with the sloppy rundowns they've labeled "The Vibe" on the collections face page? Somehow I know Josh Peskowitz is behind this logic.)

Nonetheless, I've discovered a few more things about the menswear collections thus far that I would like to share with you:

Not to get to self - referential here, but it seems that I was right about Milan this season - it was all about The Man (with the exception of Prada, which I will get to later).

Who knew a bloody face could be so sexy? The tough guy, hockey player's night out theme definitely presented itself as one of the more successful uptown/downtown mash-ups I've seen from Dean and Dan. The suit jackets and oxfords were worn with enough disdain to really make the believably authentic - I often find that Dsquared's attempts to accomplish an effortless cool such as this comes off with about as much authenticity as one of the kids from Bravo's NYC Prep having their driver drop them off at CBGB for the night. Of course, this is Dsquared's target audience, because we all know, no roadie for any indie rock band can afford to spend $4 g's on a pair of pre-distressed leather pants. Either way, I think they struck the right balance with this collection, and at least until I see the twins prance out together in the last frame, I am willing to suspend my belief and trust that these models actually are pro hockey players heading to a club for the evening.

Sorry guys, you lost me there.

Apparently, rough-and-tumble also struck a chord with Jean Paul Gautier in Paris. His boxing match themed collection sent out some interesting takes on gym clothes accessorized by bloody post-match style cuts and bruises.
Just when I start to think fashion has lost some of its fun, I remember that this guy can truly put on a show.

Note the padded shoulder details - again, this is menswear catching up to the shoulder trend that has dominated women's clothing in the past few seasons. I love the futuristic look of this jacket - cropped, minimal, with a sense of utility implied by the padding on the shoulders.

Chic sweatpants?!?! Frankly, I never thought it would happen. This look changes my mind - I could see myself in a pair of grey drawstring sweats, slim in the hips with a bit of flare at the bottom of the leg, tucked into my tassel boots, with a slim cut blazer on top. Hmmmm.
The double breasted blazer in sweatshirt fleece over some slim jeans could be a cool look as well. Let me try a couple of these out and get some pictures up.

Justin Bobby, anyone?

JPG himself got into theme with some battle scars.


Well, remember all that jibba-jabba about Fall 2010 being about a reaffirmed masculinity?
..... those are some tasty words.

If Milan is a motorcycle riding, playboy bachelor, then Paris is a well-heeled creative/intellectual with a serious girlfriend.

Let me begin to illustrate my point with Louis Vuitton.
Of course we expect luxe fabrics and expert tailoring from this house, but there was a certain woman's touch this season that gave me fresh eyes for the collection.

I'm not sure what the inset is on the waist, but this nipped in silhouette could look even more beautiful and sensual on a woman.

I LOVE the shoulder detail here. Once again, I believe we're seeing a women's wear influence in the use of this detail. It's interesting, I started playing with this type of transition across the chest and shoulders in my own sketchbooks several months ago. I was thinking of a woman rising out of a pool of water - that sensual moment when her head and shoulders emerge, but the rest of her body is still hidden. It's lovely to see it executed with such elegance in men's clothing (also the construction of the shoulder on the 2 coats with leather is so masterfully done - you hardly see the seam at the cap of the shoulder, which really lends itself to this illusion of rising out of water.)

The knit shawl collar on this jacket is a welcome surprise. I love the idea of wearing a tailored piece with as much ease as a cardigan. Does it come in my size???
I could see any of these pieces on a woman - effortlessly worn with style and elegance. It's refreshing to see such sharply tailored clothing styled with ease - movement in the shirting, the pants tucked into the socks (This tailored trouser with ribbed cuff is something we've seen on the Lanvin runway fall 2008 - I feel this season the timing is better, no doubt because Lanvin eased us into the idea of it). It's both pulled together and personal. It tells of a man who is completely comfortable in himself, confident in his clothing - not trying to fit into a mould of prescribed costume.

Even these shoes are on trend for what's going on in women's footwear. It has that clog-style wooden base with nail head construction and the still-going-strong hiker boot look - slap a stacked heel on it and you'd have them flying out of the Saks shoe floor.

All in all, I think this Louis Vuitton collection is one of my favorites of the season.

Another collection that his on this feminine/masculine theme is Yves Saint Laurent.

The tasseled sash on the jacket and coat is chic, fresh, and wearable enough to actually see hanging on racks come September. It's also very feminine - tailored and sexy, not unlike the styles presented on the Balenciaga runway for Fall 2009. The pleated tail shirt would look great on a woman - as a tunic, with semi-sheer tights and pumps, or ankle boots.

There were a couple of mis-steps:

I don't now any man, who wears men's clothing at least, who would be a fan of tweed opera length gloves. On the other hand (no pun intended), sign me up! Also, as strange as it looks here, a catsuit in menswear fabrics- low cut, nipped at the waist, cropped leg - could be a great alternative to the traditional pants suit for a woman. Just a thought.

I'm a big Rick Owens fan. His clothing is so innovative and modern - you could throw on one of his jackets over your regular old jeans and t get up, and you're the epitome of futuristic cool.
His most recent collection is no exception.

I believe he has redefined the modern silhouette. Tight shoulder, long, flowing hem and, slim leg and sleeve. It's all about creating this sense of length - the high collars elongate the neck, longer jackets stretch the torso, boots lengthen the ankles and legs. This is the best argument made for a longer suit jacket - this one is tunic like in length, and layered over that long sweater, it transforms the proportions of the wearer. Imagine that with a dark jean and high heel ankle boots and a large hobo bag on a woman.....*sigh.*
That asymetric jacket in the center is heavenly- from the way it folds, I'm guessing it's shearling. It looks absolutely buttery. This could also look great with a dark harem pant tucked into boots - you'd get a very interesting silhouette, slim and tailored at the shoulders, long torso, a bit of volume around the ankles.

Prada seemed to be the only Italian show to break the uber-masculine mould.

Sharply tailored pieces, with more than a dash of 60's London flare. The jacket and coat look as if they could have been cut from a cotton moleskin, which gives is a very polished shape. There's a charm in the flared trouser, paired with the chunky ribbed sweaters, that look as if they could have been borrowed from the girlfriend. That hot pink one might be a hard sell at that length, but if it hit at the hip and was worn under that nicely cut black jacket, I could see it being worn by an arty 9-5er, maybe an architect or graphic designer.

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