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Designer Collections Play With Androgyny

Designer Collections Play With Androgyny

At the recent Milan menswear shows, the models wore leggings. In Paris on Friday, they sported tiny gold evening purses dangling from link chains.
It is safe to pronounce androgyny a trend for next winter when even the august French house of Louis Vuitton sends out gender-bending models.
Guests gathered at the Vuitton flagship store on the famed Champs-Elysees, where ushers whisked them by elevator to the sixth floor, designed to resemble the interior of a Paris subway station.
"You are in the Louis Vuitton station. It's an invitation to travel, to go wherever you want," Yves Carcelle, president of Louis Vuitton, told The Associated Press with a laugh.
Through the white-tiled tunnel came models with their hair dyed red and slicked back in homage to David Bowie's Thin White Duke persona of the mid-70s, which has captured the imagination of more than one designer in recent years.
But Vuitton's head of menswear, Paul Helbers, proved he is no one-trick pony by subtly weaving the pop reference into a collection rich in colors and textures. Cashmere, cotton, satin and wool were dyed in merging hues of aubergine, chestnut and slate gray for a subtly polychrome effect.
Marc Jacobs, the Vuitton creative director who oversees all the label's collections, said his team developed exceptional fabrics like a denim-covered shearling and the softest smocked lambskin.
"Some of the clothes are put together with nine or 12 separate colors, all very very similar," Jacobs told reporters after the show. "What came through was very modern clothes with a very beautiful attention to detail."
Accessories included weekender bags in crocodile leather and the aforementioned purses, shaped like a bar of gold and just large enough to hold a money clip, a mobile phone and a packet of cigarettes _ a crucial detail for the chain-smoking Jacobs.
Where Vuitton gently trod, rebel designer John Galliano boldly stomped, sending out his models in leggings made from striped lurex or pink velvet with mirrored sequins running up the sides.
Having won rave reviews with his women's haute couture show for Christian Dior earlier in the week, Galliano was in a boisterous mood for his eponymous menswear collection, which paid homage to figures as diverse as William the Conqueror and Genghis Khan.
Guests gathered in a railway maintenance hangar on the outskirts of Paris to watch models stampede down a catwalk lined with flashing sirens wearing outlandish headgear, including a Viking-style helmet sprouting a row of swords.
Black-hooded ninjas sported fine casual pieces including black leather jackets and stain-splattered jeans. A model with pantyhose pulled over his head, bankrobber-style, showed off an artfully distressed gray leather coat scattered with gold embroidery.
But it wouldn't be a Galliano show without some frankly baffling ensembles. A dirt-smeared model with a bison-like headdress and a thick wool tube hanging between his legs left French writer Frederic Beigbeder clutching his sides with mirth in the front row.
Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto also had a surprise in store for guests. The king of minimalism revealed his bawdy side with wool felt coats emblazoned with images of naked burlesque dancers.
Though there were plenty of smart tailored wool jackets in subdued shades of navy, gray and black, Yamamoto's sweaters came emblazoned with Japanese comic book heroes including the classic Masked Rider _ half man, half grasshopper.


Updated : 2021-08-05 19:29 GMT+08:00