Monday, 26 January 2015

Menswear Monday - Free Willy

Fashion Week is not just for the girls, and last week saw Men's Fashion Week get started in Paris. All styles of fashion were covered, from Paul Smith's British tradition to the decadence of Chanel and the contemporary designs at Alexander McQueen. But, one designer in particular has stood out this year, and not for the reasons you'd expect. 

The Front Row got slightly more than they bargained for during Rick Owens' SS15 show, as the male models strutted down the catwalk with little peepholes around the crotch area that showcased their genitals swinging in all their fleshy glory. Presented subtly, the genitals of 4 of the models were not immediately attention-grabbing when set against the dark and dramatic loose-form outfits. But, when you did notice it was pretty much all you could see and it wasn't long before social media created the hashtag #DickOwens, making everyone else aware too.

Whilst free nipples are par for the course in fashion shows these days, gender-specific body parts are very much not the done thing and so Owens has made quite the stir. Upon speaking to WWD, Owens defended his move by saying: "As a participant in one of our most progressive aesthetic arena, am I not allowed to use this imagery? Is it only appropriate for a Michael Fassbender movie? I thought this might be an interesting question." Interesting it most definitely was. Furthering this, Owens claimed to be trying to create an atmosphere free of fear and shame, a place where the human form is accepted, after his own negative experiences growing up. This noble sentiment seems to have had it's desired effect, with little criticism surfacing and mostly amusement to be found. 

Some fashion designs can be considered works of art and catwalk shows can very easily be described as performance pieces, so a shocking display such as this is not to be taken literally. Somehow, I don't think Topman are going to start stocking crotchless jeans, so this full frontal nudity is not going to become the norm. However, I do feel that the scandal caused has taken away from the aesthetic brilliance of Owens' designs, although his name has now had as much exposure as the penises. 

Is this the official banishing of a fashion taboo, or is Owens standing alone in his mission to Free Willy?

And, if you must see the images, you can find them here.

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