Androgynous allure

At the 88th edition of Pitti Uomo, a section called – Open was dedicated to gender-less dressing. Androgynous clothing is nothing new. Designer Marc Jacobs has been wearing kilts for years now. In 2012, the glam rock pin-up boy Hedi Slimane at Yves Saint Laurent injected gender-less vibe in clothing – be it skinny leather trousers, Cuban heels or snug-cut military jackets. Hood By Air in their fall 2015 offering showcased many gender-less pieces.

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Gucci SS16

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Moschino SS16

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Vivienne Westwood

Brands such as Edithmarcel, for example: in their (C)ouverture collection, inspired by magazine covers from the 1920s, the clothing can be worn by men and women, with each creation designed in such a way as to remain unchanged in itself, intentionally depriving the body wearing it of gender-specific characteristics. The SS 2016 collection from Var/City, on the other hand, explored and mixed absolute concepts: male and female, formal and sportswear; dark and light tones; nuances and graphic features; natural and technical. Iconic garments borrow from sportswear, acetates take on a silk effect, jersey becomes denim and nylon evokes leather.

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Valentino SS16

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Louis Vuitton SS16

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Ann Demeulmeester SS16

Today the line between what’s masculine and what’s feminine in fashion is thinning. At Viveinne Westwood‘s Spring Summer 2016 runway, men were wearing sheer crop tops and at Valentino and Louis Vuitton (during Paris Fashion Week) weren’t shy of wearing their souvenir jackets which had details like floral and bird prints and embellishments. Kilts, jumpsuits and tunics too are increasingly seen in menswear shows. Who are these men? Do they wear these offerings in their private lives or their profession demands the same? Androgyny has a huge history in the fashion world and the last two seasons have seen designers injecting androgyny in luxed-up sportswear and workwear. Fashion observers are debating androgyny and it’s relevance in today’s app-driven times.

Alessandro Michele at Gucci is at the forefront of this movement who showcased lace and crochet for men, floral and butterfly appliqués, and glitter sneakers that laced up the ankle like gladiator sandals. At Moschino, Jeremy Scott sent out a sheer bodysuit emitting a Baroque-meets-Formula 1 vibe. Prada‘s menswear show was styled in an ultra-feminine way with micro shorts and exaggerated sleeves. Valentino and Louis Vuitton both showcased souvenir jackets with floral prints and applique embroidery.

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Etro SS16

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FACETASM SS16

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Prada SS16

Ann Demeulemeester paired a sheer pink crop top with a pair of high-waist trousers, Facetasm clubbed a sporty jumper with an asymmetrical skirt, Etro sent out an all flesh pink suit which was worn with a side ponytail. During LCM (London Collections: Men) a sweatshirt was shown with a cut-out detail flashing a nipple and Topman Design showed a caped poncho with a pair of teeny tiny shorts.

If so many gender-less concoctions have been churned out seasons after seasons, clearly it shows that there are serious takers for this trend. Designers are letting their freak flags fly high and letting the gender osmosis amp up in their creative laboratories.

Sprezzatura at Pitti Uomo 88

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Having read blog posts about the great wall of Pitti in Florence over the years, when I actually got the opportunity to attend Pitti Uomo – world’s prominent leading menswear trade show in Florence last week, it was a dream come true. The sight of impeccably groomed men from different walks of life, belonging to different generations coming together to channel their inner peacock at the hallowed precincts of Fortezza da Basso was riveting, to say the least.

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Seeing a sea of men in the classic navy blue and white combo, one’s likely to dub Italian men as sort of conformist but there’s a certain nonchalance with which they put their look together, which makes their fashion study even more exciting. A delectable irreverence exuded by the natty folds of a pocket square or a pair of gold and studded sneakers worn with a formal business suit. Not to forget the nifty fedoras, trilbies and panama hats and reflector sunnies which caused a multi-sensory assault.

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Man clutches, dandy messenger bags, monk strap shoes worn sock-less and cravats add to their mystical allure. But the question is – Who are these peacocks? Some of them are leading brand exhibitors of fashion and accessories, some are buyers and some comprise the media which includes bloggers, photographers.

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Fob watches linked to the waistcoat exude the old world charm and the white sneakers add to the sporty chic allure. They aren’t scared of colour as I saw red and pink suits – two colours which looked ultra-masculine.

Time for tailored swimshorts

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Summer’s already here. Time to pack your comfy tee tee, wayfarers, sunscreen and most importantly the perfect pair of swim shorts as you head to the pool side. Instead of opting for the roomy, surfboard variety, it’s cooler to invest in a pair which flatters your worked-out toned thighs and also allows you to maneuver by the pool side. Spring Summer 2015 swimwear range is full of myriad options – from luxe brands to high street labels – there’s everything for every taste. Tropical prints, stripes, polka-dotted, classic gingham seersucker version. orlebar3

Orlebar Brown SS15

Flower power

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If you think you can pull off florals then opt for this flower print Thom Browne shorts.

Dotted for extra pleasure

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If classic dots are your thing then go for this pair from Dolce & Gabbana.

Classic gingham

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Beam Plus offers this gingham seersucker cotton shorts – perfect summer pick for your pool vacay.

Stripes

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Loro Piana offers another option in striped seersucker fabric.

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Paul Smith offers a vibrant pair with landscape print.

Graphic print

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Orlebar Brown offers a natty option in blue and white

LCM 15 highlights

London Collections: Men more often than not gives a sense of direction to menswear trends. Since its inception, London designers have often shown newer silhouettes, looks and styles.

This time shearling, fur and plaid were the three key elements that eclipsed menswear space in London shows showcased in January. The ensembles saw a lot of deconstruction and patchwork techniques especially at labels like Moschino and Agi & Sam emitting a playful, fun energy. Utilitarian chic is still trending as far as menswear goes – picture an attention-seeking snowboarder or an urbane hippie, who’s not scared to don an artisanal poncho.

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Take-off point: A clothing range designed at the age of four in Yorkshire.
Highlights: Fun, fearless and fabulous – these words come to mind when one sees these daring fall coats – which were delectably deconstructed and fastened in a helter-skelter manner with Velcro. The exaggerated and vibrant masks made from Lego just added to the child-like allure of the line.

Topman

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Inspiration: Bombay City Rollers
Highlights: The collection sort of married the East and the West – there were giant shaggy afghans from the East and ponchos from the West. Urbane hippie seemed to be the ultimate spirit. Other high points were – Ombré mohair outerwear, edited bell-bottoms, stars-and-stripes-patched trucker jackets, high-hemmed blousons, printed with garage decals, and patched boiler suits.

JW Anderson

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Inspiration: a free-spirited thinker with an interest in pataphysics
Highlights: Seventies ruled here – be it the ’70s her- belted brown leather coat, the suede coat with the knit sleeves or the blue corduroy jacket. The chunky floral buttons were definitely the highlights, besides the fringed scarves. The presentation was hosted on a reeking floor of purple rubber chips, the remains of car tires usually employed for gymkhanas.

James Long

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Vibe: Progressive streetwear
Highlights: Shearling leather jackets, multi-pocketed denim jackets, blouson, cargo pants and shredded denims came with straps which cinched giving an illusion of peplum. Mixed-paint a burst of colour—illustrations by James Davison—emanated on the front of knit polos and sweaters. Grunge yet chic at the same time – the line underscored a daring street style.

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Vibe: Winter wonderland
Highlights: Jeremy Scott reimagined a winter wonderland featuring a forest of snow-flecked firs. Knitwear and the shearling coats were deconstructed emitting a psychedelic collage. Picture a snowboarder who enjoys attention. There were fake-fur fanny packs and Moon Boots, some thigh-high, flashed with gold Moschino buckling. Easily the most powerful presentation at LCM so far.

‘I’m a frustrated child from the seventies’

Made to Pleasure caught up with Emilio Pucci’s creative head – Peter Dundas at Vogue Dubai Fashion Experience.

Over sized aviators and an-all white dapper look has been her signature look. He represents the brand’s jet set lifestyle and enjoys dressing women in his va va voom creations. Over to the maverick…

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How do you interpret your person style?
I’m a frustrated child from the seventies. I wear white all the time.

How was it taking over a brand like Emilio Pucci which is steeped in heritage and history?
Six years ago, the perception about the brand was mainly psychedelic prints and 60’s jet set. It was daunting because you realise that the house is colossal – there was a mix of classical sculptures and paintings. It became overwhelming. That was the great starting point. Mr Pucci himself became a very visible brand ambassador for his house. You try it in your way.

What inspires you?
Travel inspires me a lot. I’m always on the go and it’s not hard to pick things as one goes along. I lived the Pucci lifestyle – hanging out with the girls and understanding what they enjoy. Pucci was the pioneer in the lifestyle brand. When you buy into a brand you are buying into a lifestyle. I have been surrounded by good looking celebs – all to thanks to Pucci. The house attracts a high profile following.

What was your first job?
I would make clothes for my sister as a young kid. I started very early making clothes. My very first job as a costume designer for a theatre in Paris. I was an assistant costume designer. I made a leap from theatre to the runway. After the play, I got a call from Jean Paul Gaultier’s assistant. Gaultier talks a lot and I couldn’t understand him but I kept nodding me head. Two days later, I was hired as his assistant. One thing he always came back to was skirts for men and he made it more approachable. After Gaultier, I went to Lacroix. I got a call from Cavalli. In fact, I had never thought of going to Italy before. It was a great success and it was like a finishing school for me.

How are French and Italian ateliers different?
I love working for both French and Italian houses. French have a subtle seductive approach while Italians are more impulsive. There’s a difference in the craftsmanship. I love working with French atelier – the inside of a garment is as beautiful as the outside. I also love working in Italy – all the chaos and despite being disorganised, they all have a nobility.

Did you face any disadvantages?
When I came on board at Pucci, there were disadvantages. People had preconceived notions. Every house should have women as the focus and women can’t be forgotten in the process. Prints ignite surprise and sensuality. I loved all those things and then I started hanging out with the Pucci woman. They are beautiful and I’m happy when they wear my clothes and even when she changes something. Prints have been the bread and butter of the house. I innovated prints and made them fresh and young. I find the answers at the back of my head. I introduced embroideries, patchwork, spirit of the graphics – dip dyeing them, making them large.

What’s the importance of archives?
I really make it a point of not being a slave to them. You have to personalise it. I recolour them and use them on different material. Going too much into archive can be daunting. I found a way of being respectfully disrespectful. There’s a joy of life which I share with house of Pucci but it’s also my job to change it. You may not like it sometime but it’s my job to do it. Working with Pucci’s family member (Laudomia Pucci) is a very privilege situation. I use it as a litmus paper and exchange the ideas with her – techniques etc. Today I use technology and engineered prints. I try to be impulsive in my inspiration – it can be a word or colour something which builds your attention. You work with the subconscious in a way. My first collection was really like that – when I started scuba diving in Maldives. Later I was building a house in Greece and it became a Greek collection. When you make women desirable, you impart confidence and strength to them. I’m quite instinctive in the way I work.

How do you see the future of the brand?
It’s difficult to project. Today Pucci is twice as big when I joined and I’m proud of that. It’s our duty to be the best as we can be.

Break the cliches of festive dressing

Menswear for festive occasions in India can be easily bracketed into the following categories: bandis, bandhgalas, sherwanis and kurtas with churidars. It’s sad that despite the recurring cycle of Indo western fusion season after season, which has been taking place over the last two decades, Indian menswear space throws very few options for the fashion forward man. Most guys end up looking like clones of one another – say colour blocking a sherwani with a contrasting stole or wearing a bandi with a vibrant pocket square and completing the look with a pair of jodhpur trousers. However, despite such limited options for experimentation still a lot can be done.

Try these looks:

1. Pair a bandi with your fave pair of denims or drainpipes and complete the look with open toe leather sandals. The look spells easy breezy and yet conveys that formal, dressy vibe.

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A look from Ashish N Soni

2. Pair a draped Kurta with a well tailored blazer or jacket and opt for voluminous pyjamas – the looks says festive but with a western twist. The drapes of the Kurta are offset by the structural shape of the blazer. Add your fav chronograph and a popping pocket square for that tinge of drama and you’ve got a winning combo.

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A draped look from Shantanu & Nikhil

3. Layering a denim shirt with a bandi jacket works well. Roll the sleeves up till the elbow and leave the first button of the bandi open. If you aren’t a fan of denim then opt for your fave chambray shirt. Complete the look with a pair of suede moccasins. Check this denim look from Rajesh Pratap Singh

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It’s gonna be a blue Spring Summer 2015

Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW) held in Delhi saw some very wearable, easy on the eye, pret menswear pieces.  
Rajesh Pratap Singh 
Inspiration: Selvedge denim
Highlights: Easily one of the most wearable collections at WIFW titled – Blue Blood brought back the selvedge denim made with pure indigo into mainstream fashion. The reclusive Mr Pratap kept the environmentalist impact of this offering in mind by using pure natural indigo and raw denim.
What we loved: The engineered shirt without an armhole was definitely the high point of the show. Hand and machine embroideries, chikan embroideries and the brand’s most identifiable insignia – the pintucks, patchwork jackets, polka appliques made it a treat for the eyes. Jackets, wide-legged trousers, shirts looked elegant on the kohl-eyed male models. Denim’s durability and toughness and its association with the working class was beautifully reflected in the line.
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Josh Goraya
Inspiration: Contemporary art and modern youth
Highlights: It’s difficult to come across chic-yet-practical ready-to-wear menswear in today’s Indian market filled with bandis and bandhgalas. Josh Goraya presented a crisp, clean collection accented with pop, vibrant accents like neon green.
What we loved: The collection titled Lucid Play showcased lightweight linens, cottons and georgettes. The linen bandis which came without any underlining are definitely on my wishlist – perfect for sultry Mumbai weather.
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Ashish N Soni
Inspiration: feathers
Highlights: The collection titled Plumage saw a panoply of prints – long feathers, downy feathers and wing feathers. The placement oriented prints on trousers, shirts and jackets added to the vibrancy of the layered ensembles.
What we loved: Jackets, double-breasted suits and bandis in a palette of white, teal and washed chambray were accented with feathers. Embellished sweatshirts and v-neck jumpers seem totally in sync with the currently trending sporty vibe.
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