MENSWEAR SPRING/SUMMER 2016: LONDON – MILAN – PARIS – AN OVERVIEW

gucci
Gucci Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: style.com

YOUTH AND REBELLION REDUX

Gucci, Gucci, Gucci! It would appear that Alessandro Michele’s got Youthquake fever – not that I’m complaining. I blame Hedi Slimane. Of course when compared to Slimane, Michele’s man errs more on the side of Studio 54, (the famous, 1970’s, New York City nightclub that idols like Michael Jackson and Halston used to frequent) than CBGB’s (another New York institution, think: Iggy Pop, the Ramones, and Blondie). Although, this season at Saint Laurent the muse seemed to resemble heroin chic couplet, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Sacai too, especially in reference to the show’s opening looks, is a compilation of hunter plaids. Sacai’s actual reference—the disheveled life of the raver. Gucci’s was a celebration of youth and rebellion. In addition to fashion’s most celebrated trend, there were others, like the enduring military propaganda that continues to march its way down the catwalks.

neil barrett
Neil Barrett Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: style.com

ARMY BRAT

First up, Neil Barrett, whose backdrop was as camouflaged as his collection and whose models shared a collective jarhead pout. Similar camo prints and patterns also made cameos at Valentino and Louis Vuitton. Wearable looks that any consumer on the high street could adapt.

For the more adventurous, Balmain presented a World War II silhouette that’s only qualifications were a cinched waist and a well-fitted belt. Olivier Rousteing’s interpretation, in typical Balmain fashion was complemented with delicious embellishment and gladiator sandals — not bad for his first menswear show.

Umit Benan also capitalized on the wartime uniform in a more literal manner. Belts rested on the midriffs of combat green jackets, shirts and Boy in the Striped Pajamas lounge looks. A nostalgic presentation of elegant machismo and sensual swag. In the name of all things sensual, sexual and androgynous was Sibling’s cheeky objectification of the stereotypical, teen movie jock.

Sibling Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: style.com
Sibling Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: style.com

ANDROGNY

Beefy, All-American types held pom poms in hand with “S” marked tank tops. Some wore hybrid football (not soccer), gear with exposed rears, because well, why not? Yet, clever gender bending has now come to be expected from English designers as of late, namely England’s latest juggernaut, J.W. Anderson. A leader of the movement.

However ironically, Anderson’s latest collection seemed his most traditionally masculine, with the exception of a choice few looks. His delicate and manicured show opener was a flower motif jumpsuit, (although I’m not entirely sure it was a jumpsuit), tied together with a grey obi belt, rouge patent shoes and a metal talisman handbag. Fairytale! Anderson credited the collection as being from the imaginary world of a child. Jeremy Scott’s collection for Moschino can only be credited as such.

Moschino Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: style.com
Moschino Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: style.com

ROYALS

Depending on your personal satire threshold, his take on French aristocracy can either be seen as brilliant or crass. How else can one account for king’s crowns atop lipstick clad, dandy and costume party wearing men? Oh yeah, Falco’s 1985 music video, Rock Me, Amadeus of which the decadently, exuberant collection was based. I will reserve judgement. On a similar note was Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus.

Rei Kawakubo has never been one for assimilation. Her latest collection for Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus was a testament to that. Like Moschino, a royal blood of jester-ley attire followed suit. Painted, striped and embellished to be exact, but the clothes were not what made the show a stand out. ‘Twas the blonde wigs à la Julien d’Ys that stood stiff like three- dimensional brush strokes on the heads of models, aiding in the elegantly crafted tomfoolery. It was also much less offensive than the African and badly jerry curled hairpieces showcased in the Comme Des Garcons Shirt and Junya Watanabe collections on white models, but that’s another article. The big controversy this season came from Rick Owens.

Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear model Jera Diarc sharing a political statement. Image: style.com
Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear model Jera Diarc sharing a political statement. Image: style.com

FASHIONABLE CONTROVERSY

It was not the usual anti-fashion fashion garb or the hair that resembled something out of The Ring that normally would’ve made a Rick Owens show a go to. It was Look 25. Jera Diarc. A longtime muse and friend of the designer who presumptuously pulled out a handwritten cloth during his stroll down the runway, which read, “Please Kill Angela Merkel. Not.” A political statement made towards the German chancellor, whose significance to the model still remains clouded. Needless to say, upon his return backstage Mr. Diarc was escorted out. Eva Gödel owner and founder of the “Tomorrow Is Another Day” agency, told the New York Times, “He’ll never work again.” A more incorrigible political statement was being made by Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy.

The incarcerated male was Tisci’s focus, with a tribute to history’s most infamous inmate, Jesus Christ. Images of a crucified Christ made their way onto T-shirts, pants, sweaters and tops in prints and patches. Meanwhile, as pin-ups come to life, Kendall Jenner and Naomi Campbell werked the prison block. Speaking of star power, let’s take a moment to applaud the Costume Institute’s latest exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass.

thom browne
Thom Browne Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: style.com

TO ASIA WITH LOVE

As it seems, perhaps, a yellow thread of RiRi’s custom Guo Pei, Met Ball ensemble might have fell into the drinking water this season, because the Asian influences were ubiquitous. Thom Browne was a blatant poster child of Eastern references, turning his men into Tim Burton geishas, kimono, make-up and all. J.W. Anderson also tried his hand at something similar. Valentino and Louis Vuitton, however, had a less theatrical and more attainable approach to Orient inspired fashion. Vuitton drafted satin bomber jackets of cranes and birds of paradise, which looked as if they’d fallen straight off of Ryan Gosling’s shoulders in Drive. Dries Van Noten was guilty too, his blue velvet bomber a personal favorite of mine. Issey Miyake did it with flamboyant parrot printed neckerchiefs, tops, pants and coats in cobalt blue. The prints belonged to award winning photographer Yoshinori Mizutani, in a series called, Tokyo Parrots.

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