After seasons of toying with androgyny, Paris menswear went all trans (not quite tranny) for spring 2011, sending out a gender-bending parade that ranged from girly boys to at least one boyish girl. Maybe it’s a dose of subversion for these troubled times. Or maybe men have just thrown in the towel after competing with tough girls in studs for so long. Whatever the case, boys, better start getting in touch with your feminine side…
We’ve never shied away from Rick Owens’ layers of droopy sheerness, but his one-shouldered tops and clunky bangles transformed his army of the undead into Loulou de la Falaise clones.
At YSL, sassy sissies swished down the runway in flirty linens and cinched wasp waists, evoking Venice Beach hustlers crossed with early suffragettes.
Nicolas Ghesquière also took the belt to his sci-fi Balenciaga warriors, who looked like they had borrowed Michelle Obama’s favorite Azzedine Alaïa waist-cincher.
Palazzo pants took up the torch from dhotis, appearing in Haider Ackermann’s lush men’s debut at Pitti, which switched freely between Oscar Wilde opium den to Memories of a Geisha.
But perhaps the biggest assault to manly propriety came from a singular item near and dear to schoolgirls everywhere: the skirt. The versatile staple appeared on many a men’s runway: apron-style at Kris Van Assche, alarmingly short at Raf Simons, and devout and lacy at Givenchy.
Always one to up the ante, Comme des Garçons took the crown, offering silky smock dresses with full, flouncy skirts à la Man Men. Adorned with all-over skull prints, they looked oddly seductive under a smart blazer.
The girly show even included the models themselves, such as hot new face Andrej Pejic, whose delicate features and lustrous blonde hair made for many a double-take at John Galliano and Raf Simons, and butch-realness queen (king?) Jenny Shimizu, who jumped off the Harley long enough to make a cameo at Kenzo.
Hormone therapy, anyone?