Dressing a man is a peculiar sort of challenge.
More often than not, when you engage one on matters of fashion, he'll snort and claim he isn't interested. But then he'll start whinging about how restrictive the male sartorial codes are.
I've often had the distinct impression that most men would give their right arm to wear a nice dress every now and then.
With the menswear season in full swing in Milan, after last week's shows in London, it's an appropriate time to reflect on just how diverse the scene really is at the moment. Fine, dresses and skirts may not be exactly de rigueur for the gents just yet (though London luminary JW Anderson does a nice one), but it's obvious even to the untrained eye that menswear is getting a bit more mojo.
Designers such as Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders and Richard Nicoll bring to the arena all the people-pleasing and craze-creating skills they have learnt from womenswear, in collections that excite and enthuse even the most recalcitrant of shoppers.
Kane reprised the Frankenstein T-shirts from his spring womenswear collection in his autumn men's offering, while Nicoll fielded minimal tailoring in bold shades, which will further inspire his next collection of women's pieces. These designers have injected a new fluidity to menswear, no longer an afterthought or a purely commercial venture but a creative endeavour to create a coherent brand identity that isn't constrained by gender or stereotypes.
Kane's collection launched as a response to male shoppers who took to buying the women's T-shirts; Anderson turned his hand to womenswear after the ladies of London snapped up his men's collections. His contemporary James Long has made the leap also, while Christopher Shannon dabbled with women's pieces for autumn 2013 too.
The capital has long been at the cutting edge of fashion, blurring boundaries and breaking rules – but it seems right now that British menswear is in the vanguard in terms of design theory, aesthetics and retail tactics. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "his and hers".Reuse content