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The new man? exposed

January 22 2018

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If fashion has the power to transcribe the evolutions of a given society at a time T, the London fashion week has revealed a modern man, breaking with the archetype of the male expressing his all power, a being more sensitive, more in tune with the poetry of life. - Jo Phillips.


what would be the archetype of "modern man"? And when we manage to define it, do we know what it means in our time?

The lines defining masculinity have been so blurred in recent seasons that most men find it difficult to define what is meant by the notion of "male" today. A fluctuation of genres, not necessarily comfortable elsewhere. Masculinity has been shaken: not only by the multiple complaints of sexual harassment that have been raging for the last few months. Nor even because of the weariness of women to be underpaid compared to their male homonyms.

For centuries women have been the victims of abusive behavior, and these, now unacceptable, are embedded in our psyche. Admittedly, as a male colleague rightly said during the London fashion week, tired of this surge of complaints from the fairer sex, not all men are guilty. This has never been the subject of those who reveal what they have endured for years. Nevertheless, all men have benefited in many aspects of their lives from the perverse effect of centuries of submissive women, whether consciously or not. That said, they are not the only ones to suffer the abuse of a violent and backward paternalism: some men and many children are not spared.

Why raise this issue in an article about the latest London 2018-2019 fall-winter fashion shows?

Because fashion is a big mirror of life and our subconscious. You want to know what's floating in our minds and in our hearts? Just watch the last parades and read between the lines. After all, as George Taylor said in 1926: "When the world feels good, skirts get short" (the dresses shorten in times of prosperity and lengthen in times of crisis, ed). Affirmation that also has something sexist, if you think about it ...

And what did London fashion week have to tell us about our present?

It's been a while already that we are seeing the podiums to the erasure of genres, and what was a trend a few years ago has become a no event that the company has integrated de facto. This season, we can follow the thread of this new masculine aesthetic directly from the podiums to the public come to watch the shows. Fluidness was one of the key words in London: from draped scientists to elastic waist, to suits in industrial materials and functional pieces, not to mention the kilt. It is not only the forms that speak of a softening, but also the colors and the style: we saw rainbow velvet and sleeveless costumes appear. The traditional meaning of the costume took a serious blow in the wing.

This season, it is defined differently: cargo pants and a functional jacket are worthy suit. One wonders about its role in this moving male world? We feel a willingness of the creators to distance themselves from the patriarchal model, strongly taken to party for a few months. A more fluid garment offers man the freedom to feel more relaxed and display his delicacy. It allows him to be who he wants to be and not to force him to blend into the image that is expected of him: a message that we could already feel the beginnings during the parades London fairly neutral past seasons. The previous extravagances and transgender experiments of Charles Jeffrey or Rottingdean Bazaar, are now found in many shows, in a softer and more subtle way.

While Britain has just opted out of the European Union and moved alone towards its future - (Why does anyone know?) - one of the ways that she found expressing her uniqueness on the catwalks: the skirts and draperies that graze the ground are no longer the prerogative of a handful of young boys on the sidelines, but begin to interfere in the uniform male daily.

Britain is one of the best fashion designers in the world, whether they come from the East or the West, the Far East or the Middle East, as many countries where It is not uncommon for men to wear skirts or dress-like costumes because of their culture. It is interesting to note that, until recently, foreign students who came to study fashion in Europe or the United States, were looking for a "westernized" ideal male wardrobe: structured costumes with military influences as a starting point. But if we look at the collections drawn by students from the London College of Fashion who have just paraded, we note that the drapes and skirts were totally integrated in the wardrobes, not as the expression of a particularism cultural, nor by wanting to blur the genres, but rather as an intrinsic part of the global cloakroom of modern man. It is a turn at once interesting and subtle and one can hope that it acts of a magic mirror effect.

And if not, what were the other tracks followed in London, during this last fashion week?

Scottish print everywhere - from the smallest to the largest - in color or neutral tones. Just as gigantic pockets appeared on the cargo pants, or hung on jackets like sports bags, some were even attached to the ankles, matching the Wellington boots. We also saw football scarves and ties everywhere. The trousers had all the details seen above: XXL pockets, ties, tartan, etc ...

The mind sportswear, always present, seems to be inspired by more and more sportswear outdoor: walking, mountaineering, sailing, and it's all a paraphernalia Trendy which is offered to men when it comes to practicing these activities for real. The fabrics have wet effects, the materials have shiny, metallic reflections, more flashy than the previous seasons.

We have seen paddings and references to the Cowboy look in many shows, as well as the return of the corduroy revisited, in fine lines or extra-large. And as in the previous season, solid colors take precedence over prints, with a strong presence of orange, ocher and taupe, hues that offset the strong presence of black, white and hues. pastel.

The backs presented interesting details too, as if the back of the clothes had become as important as the front: inverted pleats, additions, ornaments. It seems that with the autumn-winter 2018 season comes the time to look in the mirror, in front of and behind, and that the decorated backs, finally highlighted, will symbolize something interesting about the future of the 'man.

A version of this article appeared in Cent magazine: http://centmagazine.co.uk/family/jo-phillips-2/

Jo Phillips is the artistic director of Cent Magazine: www.centmagazine.co.uk) An interactive digital site that talks about fashion, music, design and literature, among others. Twitter @cent magazine

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