Monday, July 2, 2012

BEAUTY: Clothing--Dries Van Noten

Camouflage is seen as a quintessentially "masculine" fabric/pattern with its connotations of war and hunting. Unlike women, men have only outward elements on which to pin a sense of themselves. When does a girl become a woman? When she begins to menstruate, when she can create life. When does a boy become a man? Well, if that happens at all (most men remain boys--they just get bigger), the common answer is when he gets his first gun or shoots his first big mammal or goes to war or learns how to fly a plane or some other equally random exterior event. Psychologically, the current male idea of masculinity is that men are only men by what is near them. Of course the ones who subscribe to this belief don't think of it that way at all; if one has the props (a gun, a carcass, a big fast car, etc.), the popular belief assumes, then you must be a "man." Which is why it is so important for men who believe in such silliness to never wear the color pink. And because of this ridiculous cliché, things like camouflage get appropriated by wanna-be soldiers and rednecks as a way to proclaim or align. Is this paragraph a social critique of tired gender roles? Of course it is.

But back to the idea of clothing: what if one were to take "camouflage" and tweak it... play with the color, play with the contrast? Dries Van Noten did just that for his Spring Summer '13 collection at Paris Fashion Week and ended up creating jigsaw patterns, tortoise shell, jungle cat patterns, and various bio-based abstract fancies. He managed to camouflage "camouflage" and turn a cliché into a fresh idea.

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