If women are the “fair” sex, then are men the “unfair” sex? While it is true that ruffles may be incongruous with the five o’ clock shadow, there is a certain undeniability of the existence of masculine beauty and it was certainly running rampant at this year’s London Fashion Week for Men. This year’s fashion was all about pushing gender barriers and finding the delicate balance between beauty and masculinity while incorporating the ultramodern with the retro. Here are just some designers that hit this year’s runway whom you are bound to be seeing a lot more from in the next few years.
Grace Wales Bonner
The work of Grace Wales Bonner is focused on the sexuality and identity of the black male and her own cultural experience, growing up in South East London with an English mother and Jamaican father. Her 2017 show was dedicated to the crowning of Haile Salassie as Ethiopia’s new Emperor and incorporates pan- African ceremonial styles with military and religious embellishment. Her characteristic highly tailored frock coats, short capes, and tailcoats feature touches of crafted buttons, shells, crystals, and shells adding elegance and dignity while proudly representing elements of culture.
This Northern Irish designer dares to be different in his Henry VIII meets sexual freedom collection. His blend of bright colors and ruffles with Tudor- like collars echo themes ranging from the working class to the nearly extraterrestrial, such as is evident in his hand painted yellow -eyed lizard saddle shoes and pop art patterns. He accompanies his runway show with dream pop synth and psychedelic skylines to give the feel of an epic road trip to his equally abstract presentation. Says the designer, “I like the idea of using something so abstract. I like the heightened reality of it- something solar, feminine, empowering. Finding a new way to put masculinity but still relatable.” Anderson in a nutshell.
Often labeled a conceptualist, Craig Green is one of the most interesting new designers to emerge on the runways of London. “It’s all about fabrics and techniques,” explains the Green on his own collection. A cross between tear away hospital scrubs and actual clothing, Green’s clothes combine a look of disposability with intricate embroidery and quilting. The colors are subdued; khakis, and drabs are common, and the garments were often belted, strapped or halfway fastened to the bodies of the models, for a sense of impermanence mixed with dependability.
The love child of Topman and Fashion East, Man is a quickly emerging name is men’s fashion, focussed on blurring the gender barriers. Male models may be heavily made up, while women go au natural and both sexes are equally likely to sport face paint and asymmetrical hairdos. Much of MAN’s current offerings, designed this year by Charles Jeffrey, Feng Chen Wang, and Per Gotesson, feature silk carpenters pants paired with tailored high colors, shorts and skirts for both genders, punk rock skin tight sweaters and platform heels.
And how about you? What do you think about androgyny in fashion? How are you blurring the lines this year? Let us know.