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On the Feminization of Menswear

I remember when my friend the designer (now photographer-filmmaker) Rick Castro designed the menswear line for Michele Lamy back in the ‘80s. His reps down at the CaliforniaMart were embarrassed by his collection, and so was his publicist. They said his line was too gay and that real men would never wear the clothes. I remember them having a hissy fit over the exposed zippers on the pants and the stitching that accentuated the crotch and buttsicle muscles. Today that is de rigueur.

There’s this Gucci ad that shows a sexy boy in briefs that look just like women‘s panties, and the fabric is so fine you can see his circumcision. The focus now in menswear, with the visible display of one’s means and all the models sporting open shirts, spread-eagle -- what‘s going on here? Can I blame it all on Tom Ford? Am I being too hard on him? It’s sort of like when a gay precious boy beauty loses his looks when he‘s always depended on them for his successes in life and for being desirable. Selling desire and tapping into the baser instincts of gay men with their out-of-control disposable incomes, and also titillating women a bit the way lesbian sex titillates straight men -- that is what men’s fashion is doing right now.

I‘m just waiting to see male twin sets a la Liz Claiborne. It will be the new version of the sweater queen. Even a conservative mag like Esquire sticks a masculine actor like Dylan McDermott of The Practice -- who looks great in tailored suits playing a lawyer -- in a shiny caramel silk shirt and leather pants. More Gucci. It’s a ridiculous and affected getup, and the airbrushing can‘t hide how uncomfortable he looks.

The suits that cinch at the waist, giving an obvious hourglass silhouette -- I don’t like that, it‘s too fetishy. I want a ’50s Gregory Peck--style man in a gray flannel suit. Men look best simple. That is why I‘m not featuring these men’s shirts, suits, jackets and pants with applique, beading and bejeweling. And absolutely no chain belts. It‘s too Liberace. I do like the gay porno aesthetic -- I like seeing boys in various stages of dishabille -- but do they bring fashion fluffers to the set just so the nipples will be bullet-hard and they’ll be pistol-packing?


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