(All images from Paris Fashion Week A/W 2010)
BOYS, BOYS, BOYS.
Lyrics have never told us that diamonds were a man’s best friend, or had anything particularly interesting to say about the way he looks tonight. Commercial fashion does not offer much diversity or selection for males and regularly sticks to traditional gender roles. Stores that are typically more edgy and high-end tend to attempt to break gender roles and allow for creativity in one’s appearance, but very rarely. We only see these types of risks taken under designers like Alexander McQueen, and they are still few and far between.
“Fashionable” is a loaded description for a man; a difficult atribute to compare within the sexes mainly due to the fact that men’s fashion is so limited. In the office, a man could wear a suit for one year and simply vary the button-up shirts he wears – tada, he’s safe while his female counterpart is expected to wear a new outfit everyday.
Men also try to stick to the norm for fear of being stoned (depending on where they are). In New York City, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and a few other select cities it is expected to do your thing regardless of perception, where as the rest of the world remains far more judgmental. Fashion conscious men are generally only respected under the term of a ‘metrosexual’, as there is a raging taboo combining sexuality and homosexual culture with fashion which many straight males seem to find threatening. It is a very definitive stereotype.
In our current society, the trends of fashion versus the role of men have no particular pattern or direction. As times have progressed and women have gained rights and responsibilities on par and above those of their spouses and male relatives, it seems there has been a definite shift. The options simply presented for women include jewelry, cosmetics, many different types of footwear, physical attributes to accentuate (or hide) as a canvas, hosiery, multiple undergarments, among the hundreds of different styles of basic apparel, and they outnumber the ‘styles’ that men can indulge in tremendously. Whether a female has decided to embrace her bohemian love child or her inner-Jenny from the Block, fashion has everything to do with the actual event of presenting their self as an aesthetic version of their innermost feelings or attitude. It is much more than a t-shirt and jeans.Women have, throughout history, been able to empower their garments and themselves with a high level of sex, while men have traditionally stayed neutral.
Trends themselves – as far as our male friends are concerned – typically vary from slick tailoring to ‘tailoring with an edge’. Even the so-called icons or rebels in our current seem to be applauded for their interesting use of ties (Jon Snow, Channel 4 Presenter) or skinny scarves (Liam Gallagher) – which shows us single-handedly just how little there is to work or experiment with. With such little variety, it makes you wonder if there truly is a precedent that is continuing to limit men’s fashion. For an answer, it would serve us well to look at the fashion sensations of the late Michael Jackson (as of one year and one day ago). With the sequins, rhinestones, lame’, and incredible weight and structure of his wardrobe, one word comes to mind: costume.
Fashion, for men, seems to be just that if any true risks are taken, therefore making it increasingly difficult to be – as simple as it sounds – fashionable.
Christophe Decarnin is the brains behind Balmain. Oh my, what big brains he has.
In a little less than two seasons, Decarnin managed to take the label from the sartorial backburner and turn it into one of the most replicated brands in the high street today. How? A far cry from the delicate pieces worn by Sophia Loren and Ava Gardner when Balmain was emerging, Christophe has managed to keep the quality and inject it with a universal, edgy and polished style that even Mr. Oscar de la Renta couldn’t achieve in his 8 years designing for the label.
As A/W 2010 took a more feminine turn, his ultra-flattering collections will be sure to continue to change our wardrobe staples in the seasons to come.
As stunning as it is to have a face full of runaway, wet pigments – we all tend to look a little bit better if we go for an aesthetic a bit more polished and a bit less Courtney Love. Summer weather means we may have to add a step or two to a daily routine to keep things from mindlessly shifting across our faces. Let’s face it, tinted moisturizers and lipbalms won’t be a sufficient replacement for the Glamourpuss’ relationship with their favourite MAC eyeshadow or DiorShow.
Switch out your mascara for something waterproof. They typically can’t provide the nourishment of non-waterproof mascaras so it’s a great idea to rub a small amount of shea butter or a similar moisturizer on your lashes beforehand.
Fill your full lip in with a lipliner. Whatever the colour is you want to show, a matching shade will be available in stick-form. Avoid the scary outlines and get it as close as possible to your lipstick/gloss/balm of choice – the adherance it provides will save you the hourly re-applications.
This is esentially where you can’t go wrong. There are primers for everything you can think of – face, eyes, lips – specifically designed to remain best friends with whatever you apply afterwards. Concealer works as a great swap for primers if you find yourself without.
Turns out it’s not just for hair! While it’s a somewhat unorthodox practice, spraying a light coat over your finished face will keep everything from budging. Just promise not to breathe in while spraying.
OK, movie opinion aside…
This is an ode to Patricia Field – a woman who delivered the exact kinds of eye candy all of us have been craving and worshipping in the twelve years since Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte began to stiletto across our not-so-flat screens.
Two things Madame Field has down is the balance between shape savvy and envelope-pushing pieces that manage to keep it tres, tres classy.
Let’s take a look: