There’s still an odd, lingering Anglo Saxon puritanism, in Britain, where menswear is concerned. I couldn’t help but also notice the gangly unease with which the models in Topman Unique – the opening show of the four day London Collections Men calendar – gamboled down the catwalk, sinewy legs drowned in wide baggy trousers or sticking out of painfully abbreviated running shorts. They seemed a bit reticent, embarrassed even – which is sometimes the case with the menswear shows as a whole, lacking the confident swagger of the Milanese collections, for instance, which are set to begin on Saturday.
In Paris, food for thought at Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen and – maybe – Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane
Prada’s Miu Miu label have commissioned an ongoing series of film shorts, titled “Women’s Tales”, by leading female filmmakers. The latest is by Alice Rohrwacher. It’s number 9. The intention, Miu Miu say, in the lavish literature that’s issued out with each, is to answer a few timeless questions. “How do women appear to themselves? How do they appear to each other? Isn’t appearance also a political and intellectual issue? How should a woman be today?”
London Collections: Men – Machismo, mauve, muddles and messiness, from Alexander McQueen, JW Anderson, Sibling and James Long
There could be few more opposing statements on contemporary menswear than those proposed by JW Anderson and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton on the third day of London Collections: Men. The former focussed on the floppy, the fey, the snake-hipped gender-blending 1970s; the latter on curled-lip, swagger-shouldered military machismo, last seen circa 1870 when Britannia still rules the waves, and the world. Their men were sufficiently removed from each other to seem to come not merely from different wardrobes, but different species.
The good, the bad, the ugly – fashion shows are sometimes all three, and frequently that’s their strength. That’s because fashion isn’t about just looking pretty, particularly when it’s elevated by a catwalk showcase. Those shows are also not purely about product. They’re aspirational aesthetic proposals, about shifting the goalposts and introducing something fresh and new. A fashion show should question, and provoke, as well as try to hawk us something new off the back of it.
London’s Victoria and Albert Museum today confirmed that next year they will present the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, a retrospective of the work of the late British fashion designer originally staged by the Costume Institute of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011. “Lee Alexander McQueen was brought up in London, studied here and based his globally successful McQueen fashion brand here,” said Martin Roth, the Director of the V&A. “By staging the exhibition at the V&A it feels like we are bringing his work home.”
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