I Like My Men Like I Like My Women, in Platform Heels
(pretty sure I lifted this image from refinery29)
Men’s fashion right now utterly fascinates me. And I understand my tribe being what it is and having done a pretty good job of curating my world, what I am about to talk about might exist in this sort of bubble. But I feel like men’s fashion is having a lot of fun right now. It’s in its play mode while women’s fashion just kind of sits in a corner sulking about being bored because it’s played all these games already. For me, the most interesting shifts in fashion trends have been because someone was playing against perceptions/roles/etc that had been thrust upon them. Adversity breeds exploration.
Take for instance this men in heels trend, recently documented in the New York Times. I had noticed this gaining steam in the past year or two, more and more male fashion bloggers pairing casual masculine attire with platform wedges and heels. It was always clear that there was no interest in attempting to “pass”. It was not drag. It was merely a style choice, a battle cry of “Hey, don’t these pumps look awesome with these pants? Yes? Yes.” To quote a Mr. Wagner in the NY Times Article, “I’m not trying to portray an illusion to anybody […] As far as we’re concerned, this is just bringing a look to a club.” It is not about gender, and yet it makes you sit up and go, “oh! hrm. This says something about my understanding of gender and clothing, doesn’t it?” It becomes an accidental exploration of the meaning behind simple aesthetic choices.
What makes this particular look even more interesting is that it comes at a time in fashion where traditional ideals of masculine beauty are being played with. When you have androgyny poster-child Andrej Pejic in an international ad campaign for MANGO shirtless, wearing platform ankle boots, and a blazer with the tagline “Create Your Own Revolution” (p.s. shot by Eugenio Recuenco, if you didn’t know. It’s like he lives inside my head). You have lanky, gauged eared, heavily tattooed boys that look like they just came from the skate park walking for Balenciaga and on the cover of Italian Vogue (*cough*Ash Stymest*cough*). And how can we forget Rick Genest, a.k.a. Zombie Boy, Nicola Formichetti’s male muse. Ok, ok, ok, so my three examples are all skinny, white and pretty boys but when was the last time you saw a female agency represented model with a full sleeve walk down a major label’s runway that wasn’t seen as an intentional move/oddity.
We are seeing menswear designers playing with form, silhouette, color. Playing being the operative word here. For every boring suit put out at men’s fashion week I can show you a Walter van Beirendock, a Rei Kawakubo. Something that makes you take notice, that makes you question what a person could adorn themselves with aside from the banal questions and realizations of, “ah, fall’s colors are orange and brown… I see.” This is why men’s fashion interests me. Because it has no choice right now but to have something to say.