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If boys will be girls, what’s that mean for menswear?

A couple of weeks back in this column, I issued a rallying cry for the more directional menswear, imploring its detractors to take it a lot more seriously.

Post London Collections: Men and Pitti Uomo, I must issue a caveat to that cry. I still must stress how vital creativity and exploration is to men’s fashion, for we wouldn’t have the talents of Agi & Sam, Christopher Shannon, the Sibling gang et al without embracing some deviation from the menswear norms.

I’d also emphasise that I believe everyone is entitled to their view on the world. But what I can’t get my head around is the feminising of men. Fashion is supposed to inspire us guys - lord knows we’ve come a long way since the days of dressing only to cover our nakedness - so collections that not only make you feel uncomfortable contemplating wearing it yourself but also feel uncomfortable for the poor models wearing it seem some way wide of the mark.

I’m loath to single out any one designer out, but JW Anderson’s spring 14 collection was an actual joke in this regard. Surely he was taking the piss with his featherweight halterneck tops, his swishy high-waisted trousers and his tunic-style, sleeveless numbers? OK, so it wasn’t exactly Widow Twanky dressed up for a night out (a panto reference two weeks running - who’d have thought?) as Anderson’s casting put paid to that, but the microscopic, withered boys only served to further accentuate the feminine - no, scratch that - womenswear looks. I’m a huge advocate of his women’s collections and the fascinating challenges they pose to the observer and the wearer, but unfortunately, after last season’s frilly shorts/commercial pieces hybrid, his spring 14 menswear was just downright inappropriate for men and boys alike, even if in the unlikely event their pocket money can run
to JW prices. So what’s the point?

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