Daily Archives: July 1, 2006

Stop Press! Dateline Milan: Guy Trebay is having a really bad hair day. So bad, in fact, he’s started to hallucinate:

“Of all the authentic 80’s personalities design has consulted, there is one whose voice and message may be of use right now. I found myself thinking often of this woman last week during the spring 2007 men’s wear collections, as the hours clocked by and 50 or more designers filled 14-hour days with their latest ideas.
No matter where I was, Nancy Reagan’s countenance seemed to drift unbidden into consciousness. Maybe it was all the Adam Ant music the D.J.’s played. In my mind’s eye, Mrs. Reagan’s outsize head, perched atop a stem neck and framed by a broad-shouldered power dress — red Adolfo, of course — tended to morph into the disembodied face of the winsome charlatan from Oz, by way of Kansas.”

Oh my stars. We all know those runways can be depressing. But if you’re talking Oz, why look to the Wicked Witch of the West for help?

“At a certain point — I believe it was Frida Giannini’s debut designing men’s wear for Gucci — I began to fantasize about Mrs. Reagan appearing in the skies above Milan’s great wedding-cake cathedral, the Duomo, and intoning in a disembodied celestial voice her famous message of abstention. Far below her huddled the poor fashion folk, modishly dressed but terribly troubled and lost.
“Just Say No,” I could hear Mrs. Reagan say. “Just Say No.”
And in this dream, I joined my voice to hers, perhaps for the first time in my life.”

Kind of like the Woody Allen segment of New York Stories — in the form of a Lypsinka Acid Flashback.

“Just say no to Oxford shoes in green or orange or two-tone leather (Gianfranco Ferré). Say no to self-belted trousers, voile shirts, spray-on tans, flower-embroidered business clothes. Say no to appliqué effects, vinyl raincoats and cinched trench coats worn by girly-man models crammed into Rastafarian tam-o’-shanters (Burberry.) Say no to man-sandals (called mandals) and man-purses (murses) and suede hot pants worn so short that they produce a kind of pipe-cleaner leg not improved by fringed hippie boots worn loose and low (Gucci).
Say no to zippers so brief that they are an affront to the masculine anatomy (Costume National). Say no to boring minimalist blazers worn over tights that leave little doubt as to whether the wearer has been circumcised (Calvin Klein). Say no to seersucker swallowtail coats for the beach (Etro); to pastel golf wear seemingly designed for caddies with a sideline in a soft-core porn (Missoni). Say no to the unfortunate trouser length that, as the stylist L’Wren Scott remarked, now blights the streets of London.”

Can you guess where he’s going with this? If you can you’ve just earned yourself 500 bonus points on Gay Jeopardy.

“”What are those?” Ms. Scott asked as she waited for a show to begin, referring to pants truncated at midcalf. “They’re not clam-diggers or Bermuda shorts. Maybe they should be called Mapris,” or man Capris.
Stop the Mapris, or at least make efforts to contain them before they become a global contagion”

“Contagion”? Uh-oh.

So Guy’s looking for a fashionista cordon sanitaire, eh? And just look who’s providing it —

“Strange as it is to say, the most credible designs of the week were, with a notable exception, distinguished by measured sobriety. Although no word in the context of fashion means less than “modern,” there is such a thing as a vital present. And like members of a recovery group chanting the Serenity Prayer, the designers who presented the most engaging ideas looked as if they were taking both life and fashion a day at a time.
The most literal example of this is Donatella Versace, whose cocaine addiction is now behind her and whose collection was well pitched to the revitalization of her family company. In the tailored proportions of jackets and trousers, Ms. Versace steered clear of pitfalls that have beset past collections. There was no Sonny Crockett flash, and few garments that could be mistaken for key pieces in the wardrobe of a made man.
Instead, Ms. Versace showed well-shaped and trim-cut jackets in neutral hues and took a Goldilocks path in terms of trouser width. Her palette was mellow; beyond slabs of neon color on print shirts, there was nothing to suggest a man who looks as if he secretly wishes to wear his girlfriend’s clothes. That it was intended to be a masculine show, in the premetrosexual sense of the word, was clear from the casting.
“We really wanted guy guys,” the stylist Bill Mullen said backstage. Most models working Milan’s runways lately bear an unnerving resemblance to the underage characters in Larry Clark films.”

So? You were expecting Bruce Weber to take pictures of adults?

One of the encouraging experiences of an intense but often dispiriting week was observing how effectively a tight palette can be deployed by designers as skilled, though unalike, as Valentino, Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons at Jil Sanders, Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta or Giorgio Armani, who invented it all.
In his moment of ascendancy, Mr. Armani was often praised for a controlled use of color and tone-on-tone effects. Revisiting the lessons of his early career, Mr. Armani concentrated this time on unfussy suits in shadowy colors and fabrics that were fluid but not blowsy. The full pinstriped trousers he presented with ironed creases looked appropriate to the sartorial moment, cool although not nearly so hip as the Al Parker mustaches glued on all the models at his earlier Emporio Armani show.

AL PARKER?!?!!!

Oh my stars!Now there’s a Blasto from the Pasto for you. There’s a name I never dreamed I’d see so casually dropped into the NYT.

That loud rattling noise you’re hearing is Abe Rosenthal turning over in his grave.

For those of you too young to remember what Brad Gooch calls The Golden Age of Promiscuity, here’s the wiki-skinny on Al Parker.

The “Money Quote” : “Famous–indeed notorious–for his large cock, Parker was almost exclusively a top on film.”

How vivid.

But why, you ask is Guy evoking a porn god in so outre a context?

Well as everyone from Kay Thompson to William Klein has shown, fashion is beating heart of outre.

However at the last it’s clear there’s something far more down to earth on Guy’s Milan-damaged mind.

“Beneath the risible “Death in Venice” styling was an Alexander McQueen show in which fashion’s most gifted underachiever once again proved his ability to cut and shape a suit, most successfully one in lightweight glen plaid with checkered piped lapels.
Is this the place to note that the most inescapable, not to say oppressive, theme of the week was short pants? It is. There were short shorts and Gurkha shorts and Bermuda shorts and cuffed shorts out of “Chariots of Fire.” There were tennis shorts and shorts worn as the bottom half of suits and shorts so abbreviated that they were little more than cummerbunds with a zipper and a seam up the crotch. If these presentations said anything about the larger culture, it could be that the West is being readied for a future in which China has conquered the planet and the rest of us have been hired to make UPS deliveries or mow the lawn.”

Yes I’ve fallen madly in love with my UPS man too, Guy. Millions of gay men have. And yours look like Al Parker.

So does mine. Maybe we can start a support group.