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Secondhand trends are a raw deal for menswear

Having survived the main menswear fashion weeks (New York doesn’t really count, coming so late in the season), it’s struck me how often designers who create both menswear and womenswear collections borrow from one for the other.

And when I say ‘borrow from one for the other’, this invariably means ‘take a womenswear design detail or motif and recycle it for the guys’.

One of the most obvious employers of this tactic was Christopher Kane. No, he didn’t adorn his men with gaffer-taped lace, but he has transferred a Frankenstein’s monster graphic to his autumn 13 menswear - apparently based on how many guys were buying the large-scale monster-print T-shirts from his spring 13 womenswear collection - and spun off the idea to include Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Putting the merits
of the collection aside, it just felt kind of obvious.

Similarly, Christopher Raeburn reoriented us with a beautiful map print from his spring 13 womenswear collection for the opening two looks of his autumn 13 menswear show, while Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent took his Hilary Devey-style striped coat from autumn and ‘switched it up’ for spring with a Cruella De Vil-inspired, dalmatian-spotted version for his autumnal men. Even designer darling Raf Simons has been borrowing from his back catalogue, dipping a little further back to his last collection for Jil Sander (autumn 12) for a good portion of the colour palette he employed a year later for his own menswear line - namely the pink, red and brown.

I completely appreciate the idea of a designer having a signature, and I’ve got no problem with themes running across a designer’s work: it’s essential for branding. But it’s ever-so-slightly cheeky considering the menswear
is at least one step behind. If the idea is good enough to show at all, why not show them in the same season?

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