Men's fashion gets a feminine touch at Paris shows


Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I saw this article, and thought it was interesting. Why do designers keep trying to force this issue?

Men's fashion gets a feminine touch at Paris shows

The notion of wardrobe androgyny was the fitting theme of Yves Saint-Laurent's men's collection, the house that kicked off the just-ended Paris men's shows where men's fashion won a feminine touch.
At YSL, designer Stefano Pilati used quotations from Plato to explain why he combined female detailing with a masculine silhouette.

"The original human nature was not like the present ... the sexes were not two as they are now."

Pilati underscored the union of genders with a line for men made in fabrics normally worn by women -- crepe de chine, organza, shantung and silk voile, all fabrics which float rather than fall.

In an era obsessed with global warming and sustainable development, the 44 spring/summer 2009 collections displayed at the four-day men's fashion shows ending Sunday featured light airy see-through linens, silks and soft feathery cottons.

Bright colours, more often the domain of women's wear, also figured strong.

As Gay Pride marches took place across Europe, pink was popular in Paris.

Louis Vuitton, a house with a predominantly masculine view of the world, chose pink for shorts, pants and waistcoat, and even shoes.

A huge pink sail served as the backdrop for an otherwise frankly male take on fashion from Emmanuel Ungaro designer Franck Boclet, who said fuschia was simply one of the house's signature colours.

"I wanted a gay fresh style," Boclet said of what he told AFP was "a Paris 60s look" of hip-hugging tight-thighed pants, chequered suits, and the odd item in day-glo orange, bright blue or purple.

Making his menswear debut for Givenchy, the house women's designer Ricardo Tisci too went for shocking pink, throwing out a suit with socks, shirt and shoes in pink in a gothic-cum-romantic collection mingling masculine and feminine -- lace shirts over tattooed skin, kinky leather shorts worn with cropped leggings.

At the house of Lanvin, designer Lucas Ossendrijver won a standing ovation from hundreds of fashionistas in Paris' ethnological museum for light-looking, almost insubstantial suits that seemed crumpled all over.

At Dior, one of the most breathlessly-awaited shows, Belgian designer Kris Van Asche broke with the brand's iconic black, splashing deep gold, cobalt blue, fuschia and day-glo orange, shown on a gravel runway running between a line of tall trees.

His masculine touch saw the return of the leg-hugging straight pants first designed by his style-setting predecessor Hedi Slimane, as well as harsh laser-slashing in shirts and jackets, and minimalist small collars and tiny lapels.

For his own epynomous collection, Kris Van Asche too went for feminine detailing, with suits made in the light cottons normally used for shirts.

Some of the smaller more outlandish designers went further in blurring gender codes in fashion.

A newcomer to the Paris scene, Japanese designer Tatsuro Horikawa and his Julius brand put his very-manly men in biker boots, aviator hats and adventurer-style pants, while adding almost dress-length tunics and see-through shirts.

His models strutted the catwalk with long shawls rolled around shoulders and veil-like shawls draped over their heads. See-through shirts showed a black band around the chest, almost like a women's bra.

Gaspard Yurkievich, a favourite with the trendy Paris set, said he aimed "to reintegrate feminine elements in the male wardrobe." The result was a bouffant tunic worn over trousers and short jackets with lots of trim that resembled that womens-wear classic, the little Chanel suit.

Most ultra-daring were Romain Kremer with men in long transparent dresses in fluorescent shades, and Bernhard Willhelm with an unwearable medieval-style collection featuring long-haired men in tiaras and multi-coloured bloomers.

John Galliano, in typically provocative vein, offered kilts worn over bright leggings, another staple of the Paris shows.

Paris men's fashion saw fewer adolescent, waif-like androgynous types strutting the catwalks, with big names such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier opting for models who looked like grown men of at least 20.

And taking a stand against society's anti-ageism streak, Japan's Yohji Yamamoto and Belgium's Ann Demeulemeester chose to show men could grow old gracefully, throwing well over 60-somethings on the catwalks.


Starting Member
Why do they keep forcing it? Because to them, masculinity is just another label, something to go in and out of style. They do the same thing to women: cleavage is out, it's in again. It's good to be curvy, no wait, better to look like a recovering heroin addict.

Fortunately for us in the real world, good taste doesn't revolve around what's happening on a runway in Paris. Couture has always been this tiny bubble, disconnected from reality. Every one of these houses will nonetheless continue producing products that actual men want to wear, and sell few to none of these whimsical creations.


Honors Member
I saw this article, and thought it was interesting. Why do designers keep trying to force this issue?

What do you mean "force this issue"?

Designers are free (within the limits of their contracts, I guess) to express themselves how they wish. If the theme of androgeny is interesting for them to explore aesthetically through their designs, I cannot see how that is particularly "forcing the issue" or why there should be a single "why" - the reasons for choosing such a theme will vary between designers.

Fashion show trends filter down to mass-market clothing is lots of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The only way to truly escape it is through bespoke. But even there is more like being able to slow down changing trends to a snail's pace, dampening out season-to-season variation rather than truly ignore them.

We all like to think we're just being stylish not fashionable, but looking around the boards, most of us do incorporate certain fashion cues - consciously, subconsciously or just because anyone wearing RTW or MTM, no matter how carefully they choose, will inevitably have items that reflect their period of origin.


Super Member
Take a look at women in 1910. Now take a look at them in 2010. Why are most of them wearing mens' clothing.
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