3 July 2010

Yamamoto, Owens, Lanvin: Menswear lessons

Take a leaf out of Alber, Rick and Yohji's books!

The best Spring/Summer 2011 menswear collections came from three designers whose work seems, at least superficially, glaringly different. Yet each presented offerings that were largely seasonless and genderless, which simultaneously pushed their established aesthetic forward and broached new territory, and which provided inspiration for men and women alike. They revealed that the best designers are working beyond 'trends', gender binaries and discrete seasons, and towards a model that attempts to transcend the fashion system's imposed restrictions from within.

Rick Owens is just so tough and consistant I can't quite believe it. His deceptively simple garments break hearts. No one else could combine goth, nun, raver, aesthete and amish influences and get something this concise - this directional - without appearing derivative.

Yohji takes the cake this season (so let them eat it). This collection appears to reimagine French eighteenth century elites as the twenty-first century 'creative class'. Beautiful outsized suits (the dropped shoulder and ten button blazers are genius), cropped trousers or bloomers, paisly three-pieces and full-orange looks make this collection at once practical and whimsical. A green three-piece suit can be serious - it's up to you.

Lanvin manages to be impossibly chic without feeling impractical. There is never superfluity in Elbaz's work; even the seemingly frivolous gestures are ├╝ber-refined. Check out the wonderful combination of delicate fabrics cut into casual but smart shapes and teamed with sports bags and sandals. Hybrid dress for a hybrid (wo)man. Everything at once, nothing we don't need. (Well, you know what I mean.)

Despite hailing from disparate locations, heralding diverse aesthetics and having varied clientele, Elbaz, Owens and Yamamoto share one very important message: strong taste and clear vision never go out of fashion. Bear in mind. Dress wisely.


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