gender roles, & paris fashion week: fall 2016/17 menswear

by: freddie

Menswear Higher fashion is widely accepted at its peak by Paris fashion week (20th-24th January) with its houses and guest houses releases: Agnes B, Ami, Balmain, Commes Des Garçon, Dior Homme, Y-3… On the 20th of January ‘Off-White’ saw its first Paris cat walk exhibition, with Ian Connor (DONDA and creative consultant) dragging out Creative Director Virgil Abloh to a humble encore. However, this year Saint Laurent did not close the menswear releases, to be held instead in L.A. on February the 10th. Saint Laurent – Hedi Slimane‘s revered rock/punk attitude and razor cheek bones, signature skinny silhouette, influenced conventional dress codes of gender to a more androgynous acceptance. He made dress code indeterminate to gender again for myself and many in the 21st century cool, like the New Romantics did in the 80’s, recently deceased David Bowie was the King of Androgyny with his character Ziggy Stardust.

Ziggy Stardust, the alien “played it left hand” with his band ‘the Spiders from Mars.’
David Bowie
1976: David Bowie poses for an RCA publicity shot in 1976. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)



DIOR HOMME – Kris Van Assche – F/W 2016/17


The cat walk is its own exhibition of fashion, for Fall 2016/17 neon skate park, with a dramatic Willy Vanderperre directed visual in the background. A refined sense of neo-classicism executed correctly “without nostalgia”. Gesaffelstein (Mike Levy) ‘the dark prince of techno’, Zane Lowe described him as “en vogue”, Bromance Records colossus, Yeezus producer, and a face of Dior. Gesaffelstein would have been proud of the performance; red beams of light giving a new lustre to the focal grand chandelier. The Dior fall performance seemed close to Mike Levy’s own brutal but beautiful displays, 101 bpm violent rhythms with saturated synths, he DJ’s cigarette in hand in any EU club, all as a means of catharsis.

Gesaffelstein (left – Mike Levy) – Kris Van Assche (right)

There was still a unifying essence of progressive undertones by small gestures such as black nail polish, despite the creative directors statement of the collection being street to Dior house silhouette integration.

Many Paris fashion houses do not see the need to merge female models into menswear, a static view for Dior asserting  a “contemporary generation” collection.  Due to their haute couture collections, dividing fashion into menswear and womenswear is to many “enough” for the LGBT community. However, Addressing gender roles through two specialised houses seems archaic to the progressive dress wear integration we see in society. Many LGBT groups understand that Dior’s fall collection featuring black nail polish on their male models is simply not “enough”, it marginalises the attitudes for accepting gender neutral fashion.

The fall collection featured a burnished theme throughout with thin fine bow ties and bright satiny collars, napoleonic military hats, duffels, embroided scarves, romantic 6 piece necklaces. Kris Van Assche despite being Hedi Slimane‘s first assistant for a time at Yves Saint Laurent, has suffered labels under critics as irrelevant or reactionary, which is suiting in contrast to the displays of gender neutral efforts by other houses.

Previous to Paris Fashion Week, Louis Vuitton – S/S 16 revealed Jayden Smith at 17 years of age as their face of womenswear, photographed for their ad campaign by Bruce Weber. To challenge masculinity in conventional fashion is great step, however Complex may have frame it with words like “experimentation” or the Independent want to establish the differences of gender dress codes to a “uniform”, only to embellish the need to break down traditional proclamations for how people should dress according to society’s doctrine. People can wear genderless clothes, Juun J is a great example of that in higher fashion. The LGBT community and many other figures understand the step Jaden Smith took to stop the categorising of peoples perceived gender.



“As a double standard, women can wear men’s clothing in a way that men can’t wear women’s. A woman can walk into the men’s department without getting any weird looks, either because it is assumed that she is buying something for a guy or because it is ok for a girl to wear guys clothing. A woman can wear men’s clothing and still be sexy in today’s social climate. A man gets a different response for wearing makeup or traditionally feminine clothes.”

Mildred Browns, 21 


Many London creatives, friends and myself, notice the bemused faces while walking to work or Uni. How tradition finds wearing tall cuban heels, nail polish, or when we objectively walk into the ‘women’s section’ to find a nice black neckerchief tie, how is this unacceptable in social society? The connotations of a man wearing makeup, for instance black lipstick receives vast reproval, unless you are icons such as Mick Jagger or David Bowie, able to challenge convention in the name of rock’s counter culture. Or Yeezy, today’s rock star, rocking a Vetements oversized hoodie (pour femme).


Paris Fashion week saw a lot of mourning for Bowie, re-branding, changes in taste and reigning in of the wild and bizarre fashion show stunts which only reinforce the satirical commentary which will be seen in Zoolander 2




Dries Van Noten – Fall 2016/17

The overall winner, the Belgian designer produced a cadre of outfits for his own peaceful military. The embroidered badges accentuating the winter jackets and coat corners. Upturned starched green trousers, a uniform of sophistication and sleek velvet. Influences from the 60’s, with the same wavy fonts of the ‘free love’ era that was used on the album Are You Experienced?

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My favourite from the collection was the opulent Drive-(2011)-esque bomber. Peacocking never looked so good.


Sandro – F/W 2016/17Sandro-Men-FW16-Paris-1020_1280x1920.jpg

Ilan Chetrite’s simple silhouette of ankle tapered leather trousers, and thick black rubber soled shoes juxtaposed against the neutral toned fabrics. Wearable and romantic not minimal. He praises 80’s german influences, to the contemporary Parisian scene, balancing “volume and Fabric”. A well adjusted ultra-modern mix.

Even though I wear my student loan as it is, this warm beige/camel jacket would fit nicely in my cupboard. A straightforward fit for someone seeking to create a character on a night out in Camden.


COMMES des GARÇON Homme Plus – FW 2016/17071.jpg

Rei Kawakubo’s radical label featured ‘COMMES DES GARÇON Shirt – FW 2016/17’ the day after this predominantly monochrome collection. Frida Kahlo like floral headpieces, 3 panel layered sleeves, wearable, sleek prints, armour like studded jackets. Straps were a consistent feature at Paris menswear fashion week: Yohji Yamamoto, Craig Green, Dries Van Noten…

I know my mum would hate them on me, but the black poetic pleated skirts of last season were as eye catching as this season’s studded derby’s. Shout-out to my friend ‘The Basement’ hound Sam in his CDG Doc’s. Vero loves Commes Des Garçon for its ‘anti-fashion’ design.

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Yohji Yamamoto – F/W 2016/17 _MON0265_426x639.jpg

On Thursday 21st of January at 6 p.m. crowds crammed into see the spiritual leader of calm fashion – Yohji Yamamoto. Described as “ninja goth grandmaster of minimalism” – spurted from some idle keyboard savage. Each project and collection Yamamoto rests on flows with Japanese admiration and his own identity, whether at Y-3 with Adidas, in tandem with fellow Keio University graduate Kawakubo or Issey Miyake.

It is easy to miss the momentous amount of detail in each of his lines, the simplicity is shown from restraint.




Rick Owens – F/W 2016/17 

There was an atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding what to expect with this years fall collection by Rick Owens, as the controversy of his 2015/16 fall collection revealed too much genitalia for the blushing critics, as well as his spring collection of “human backpacks”. Lax coats, zipped drapes and gaunt faced models walking on their trouser ends, were this years feature. Chalk white makeup emphasised the models structures with, knees, adams apple’s and jaws, clanging through Rick Owen’s minimal concrete jungle.


This week is still New York Fashion Week, London Fashion week A/W 2016/17 commences February 19th-23rd, until Alexander McQueen’s collection returns home to London here is a small playlist to numb the pain of reason, rationality and the absurdity that your parents perpetuated in birthing you. Have a great day, smile and hug harder than you did yesterday.