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Paris Fashion Week: Penises and androgyny

AFP/The Local · 26 Jan 2015, 11:44

Published: 26 Jan 2015 11:44 GMT+01:00

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- Full frontal -
US designer Rick Owens created a category all by himself by sending out three male models with their penises exposed by cutaway robes.
The taboo-busting garments are unlikely go mainstream, and many veteran fashionistas thought them too blatantly calculated for controversy.
But they did succeed in giving Owens more international media coverage than all the other designers combined. Indeed, many took to social media to share the images, with one Twitter user (below) choosing a tongue in cheek caption to go with the Rick Owens collections. 
- Androgyny -
Other designers went the opposite of putting manhood on the catwalk by seeking to redefine what "menswear" means through gender-bending designs.
Andrea Crews, Rynshu and some others put a few women on the catwalk for their men's collections.
But the more defining trend was a feminisation of the garments themselves. 
Skirts, robes and shawls all put in appearances on male models, and quite a few -- in Issey Miyake's show for instance -- had hairpins keeping glistening hair flat.
Many of the models themselves were selected for their androgyny.
"I found it (the trend) interpreted with a lot of finesse," Jean-Jacques Picart, a consultant for the fashion and luxury goods sectors, told AFP.
Items by the Spanish fashion Loewe, for example, "were borderline with a feminine seduction, a sensuality," he said.
- Sporty chic -
This trend has been growing for a while, and these collections established it as a look that will probably endure for years.
Dior epitomised the design, with suits flashed through with denim and carried along on classy shoe-sneakers boasting high-energy colours on their soles.
Cifonelli's suits were beautifully cut if much more traditional numbers, but tailored to give good freedom of movement to modern men.
And Louis Vuitton offered easy-to-wear with jean-style jackets, sweatshirts and a close-up rope motif inspired by Christopher Nemeth, an influential British fashion designer and artist passed away four years ago.
Story continues below…
- Frontline fashion -
The suit is the businessman's uniform, but some of the designers decided that military-style uniforms are now the new suit.
Korean designer Juun.J was at the forefront of that, with a khaki collection that would not look out of place in combat zones were it not for the addition of images of children's faces and doves painted on them in anti-war irony.
Other designers, Berluti and Dries Van Noten among them, also paraded military men on the catwalks, adorning sleeves with embroidery and trench coats ready for dress inspection.
Lanvin's Dutch designer Lucas Ossendrijver, who put grey and black uniforms to his collection, noted the military tone in Paris with the deployment of soldiers to ensure security following the Charlie Hebdo attack by Islamist gunmen three weeks ago.
"If you look in Paris, there are so many military people around. At every station there's soldiers, it's kind of surreal."

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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