Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Trend Report: Full Frontal Fashion

There are lots of major trends for Autumn/Winter 15, but one trend has arguably received more press than any other - and that's full frontal male nudity in fashion. With battles for gender equality being won every day, is this another win for the leveling of the playing field or just a headline grabbing publicity stunt?

1. Rick Owens


Rick Owens' controversial AW15 collection saw penis-flashing tunics and peephole flaps in an otherwise monastic line of capes, robes and peacoats. While many accused him of bad taste and male objectification, Rick Owens defended his collection, comparing it to classical marble statues of nude and draped figures. The collection also fought battles for gender equality - while it's become commonplace to see nude female models, male nudity is still shocking. As you all know I'm a huge Rick Owens fan, and this collection was no exception for me. While I can't see myself wearing any of the pieces styled in the same way (mainly due to indecent exposure laws), I could totally see so many of the pieces being worn with jeans or leggings, and looking absolutely stunning. And regardless, as Owens' said, "We all know that runway looks aren’t meant to be taken literally, they illustrate an ethos. I would like to present a utopian world of grace free of fear and shame.". Who can argue with that?

2. MT Costello


A few weeks later, during New York Fashion Week, brother-sister design due MT Costello decided it was their turn to champion the male nudity trend. This time, sending just one male model down the runway wearing an embossed bathrobe and two glittering snake bracelets (one of which was not worn on the models wrist). Before leaving the catwalk, he dropped his robe low in the back to give the audience a final farewell glimpse of his backside. The rest of the collection saw a series of female models in fairly standard evening gowns. So why the male nudity? Did it add to the aesthetic of the collection in any way? no. Did it give the audience something to gawk at for 5 minutes? yes. This is the epitome of male objectification and it does nothing for gender equality.

3. Unknown Bag Designer during Madrid Fashion Week



The fact I can't even find the name of the bag designer really says it all. So you're a women's bag designer, and you think to yourself, how can I present my bags in a way that really just puts all the focus on the bags? I know - nude male models! That makes perfect sense! Lets be honest here - nobody was looking at the bags. As Rick Owens said  - the runway is meant to illustrate an ethos. What is this designers ethos? Is it that men should be repressed, made to walk around naked and carry women's bags? This was clearly done to grab headlines, and it's totally backfired because nobody even seems to know the name of the designer.

4. Bcalla


Ok, so I'm coming full circle here. Bcalla has taken the trend to the absolute extreme by hiring gay porn stars to model in the lookbook for their fall winter collection, with an accompanying pornographic fashion film. And trust me on this - I have posted some of the more tasteful shots above. Maybe I should be condemning Bcalla for once again appropriating male objectification, but instead I'm actually going to defend it. Bcalla unashamedly knows it's aesthetic. This is clothing made for the club kids - crazy colours, spandex and cut-outs. Bcalla creates clothes for characters, and it just so happens that this seasons muse is the porn star. And in a way, I don't even feel like this is male objectification, or at least not in the same way the bag designer and MT Costello were promoting male objectification, because the models are owning it - these people have sex on film for a living. And again - it's an ethos. Nobody is going to wear these pieces to the supermarket on a Saturday morning, but maybe it promotes a confidence to be unashamed of yourself, whoever you may be.

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