Sunday, June 28, 2015

What's Going On Here?

    I rarely weigh in about a particular designer's collection.  This one, which is the most recent effort from Gucci is very much worthy of commentary, mostly because of how hard its pushing to present us with another way to view menswear.  I've written a lot about the changes that are occurring in our larger society that are expressing themselves in a general opening up in the way men dress.  More options, more color, differing shapes and types of garments are being created that are bringing a host of new sartorial words to the conversation.
    This collection, is taking both garment types and garment details that have been traditionally the province of women's wear and throwing them out there for men.  Do I honestly think this will gain much traction in department stores as a manner of dress?  Not really.  What's important here is that this is happening, and happening with greater frequency all the time.
Many, if not all of these looks have elements that make us a bit uneasy.  A pussycat bow in a pastel color, worn by a man.  It challenges notions both of masculinity, and sexuality.  The same goes for the lace shirt, the deliberately shortened sleeves, the ruffles, the florals and the slippers.  Of course what we are battling against here isn't really all that old in terms of human history.  Prior to the 1800s men could wear any of these elements without fear of social disapproval.  Its our lingering Victorianism that makes this tough on us. 

It is a bit surprising that those old notions of appropriateness still have such extraordinary power. But just like the white wedding dress, these ideas grew out of the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, and the staid manners of the Victorians.  We have been trying, with little success for a long time to get free of those antiquated ideas of what makes a man a man.  Fortunately for us all, this is finally changing seriously. 
Design houses like Gucci will continue to present us with these visual challenges.  And we will continue to resist, I suspect for a while longer.  But each year, and each time these concepts get presented, we become subtly more used to the idea, until, one day, we decide to give them a go for real.

 I don't think we are going to be waiting all that much longer now.

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