Looks from Gucci and J.W. Anderson’s Fall 2015 Menswear Collections.
When guests arrived at the Prada menswear show in Milan this past weekend, they found a manifesto from designer Miuccia Prada on their seats. It featured her thoughts behind the collections that they were about to witness. “What are the unexpected possibilities, the various relationships that may occur between the way men and women can or would dress?,” the show notes read. “Gender is a context and context is often gendered.” Much like race and religion, conversations about gender and identity have infiltrated the mainstream. It is safe to say that Mrs. Prada’s externalized thoughts are warranted.
Looks from Prada’s Fall 2015 Menswear and Pre-Fall 2015 Womenswear Collections.
How did this translate to the clothes? Mrs. Prada loves a continuous story, she had already started to explore these themes during last season—Spring 2015 menswear and Resort 2015 womenswear—where men and women shared similar structured looks with contrast top-stitching, and were even sent out in matching his-and-hers denim-and-leather dusters. It was not surprising then, that she had picked up where she left off for the Fall menswear collection, which were shown alongside the women’s pre-fall looks. Her signature black shiny nylon (reminiscent of those backpacks that from the ’90s that really put her star on the map) was cut into suits for the men and skirts for women. They also shared the same structured cuts in jackets and coats and even the shoes were alike—a hybrid hiking boot with a thick platform. The tones were muted, mainly all black and gray.
At the Gucci show, the models stomped down the runway wearing semi-sheer pussy-bow blouses with their low-slung trousers. It was quite the departure from the brand’s typical fine suiting. (Could you imagine a headstrong Italian man wearing a pussy-bow blouse?) The outfits were completed with fur-covered sandals or mules based on the traditional Gucci horse-bit loafer. To further drive the point home, there were a few female models thrown into the mix. Not that you could tell from the intentionally ambiguous nature of the show.
Looks from Christopher Kane and Marc Jacobs Fall 2015 Menswear Collections.
This new form of boy-meets-girl-meets-boy dressing is not only happening in Italy. British designer J.W. Anderson has made this new “soft masculinity” his trademark, and his menswear collection featured sweaters and blouses with oversized translucent floral buttons, worn with flared trousers cinched at the waist with oversized belts. Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs showed bold animal print shirts and textured knits, and Christopher Kane opted for high-waisted trousers worn with tight, tucked-in sweaters—a more subtle attempt at subverting the the traditional men’s silhouette.
Women have been able to “borrow from the boys” for some time now (see the ubiquitous boyfriend jean), but men have had to tread a more difficult path. Recently Kanye West rocked a geometric print silk Céline top to perform at Coachella, and who better to start breaking down the walls between male and female dressing? We’re not saying it’s for everyone. You can bet that it will take a lot for most men to even consider a tight sweater and high-waisted pant look, but at least it’s there for the taking. Should the gents (or ladies!) be keen to wear it.