21 January, 2008

do[ing] the ultra-violent

I arrived in Paris on thursday for menswear fashion week, and until saturday, I was completely underwhelmed. There seemed to be a pattern emerging (aside from plaid). All of the shows were slow sombre affairs. The music was barely there, with slow truncated beats, if any beats at all. The models were walking excruciatingly slow and the clothes were soft. I have nothing against soft men's clothing per se, I've even had a pre-delectation towards  silk organza, but the soft layers of drapery, the slow footsteps and the anti-beats it was all getting a little too much. I began to hope somebody would send a model down the runway with blood on his knuckles, but the most visceral effects were gaffer tape attached to the backs of shoes and inflatables. It was dull. Menswear has a tendency to be habitual, but this was a new low. I pinned very high hopes on Eric Lebon to deliver, and it didn't look good waiting for the show. There was the obligatory splash of high-camp-fur and 'Street Snappers' taking pictures of the students, and it appeared to be in a gallery. I sat and waited : It happened. The music had beats, it made you want to dance, and the clothes were progressive. Eric has begun to work with more 'lux' fabrication. The nylons from last season were replaced by silks and wools, sometimes silks overlayed on top of wools, then lined in silk. The structure was tighter, and the colour was vibrant! Autumn Winter had mustard! And red! And electric blue! And khaki! And very little black. Even the grey tended to be pale rather than charcoal. All of this without a drop of blood. I left satiated and ready for more. After all, it was only a week or so earlier that Raf Simons had sent out a single

breasted suit that looked like a skinheads dream for Jil Sander. How about some clothes for men to fight in, or more fittingly, use to avoid fights...?! It seems I was not to be disappointed. After an evening of testosterone-filled shows, I tended to my bruised bloodied knuckles with a smile on my face.