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    Friday, March 03, 2006

    The Thin Masculine Line


    From, where else but, Thursday Styles:

    The designer who did this best for me was Yves Saint Laurent. The shows in his last years were repetitive and a little sad, the slow winding down of a great clock. But then, around outfit 55 in a show of 100 exits, a simple dress or a plainly absurd white blouse would come out, and suddenly you were again in the hook of his consciousness.

    A similar thing happened on Wednesday night at Rochas, when Olivier Theyskens sent out a skinny black pantsuit and then a lean black vest over a white cotton shirt with narrow trousers. If he wanted to communicate the idea that modernity is a thin masculine line, I don't think he could have done it any better. But by making the black cotton velvet and silk seem as dry and saturated as a charcoal (he said afterward he was thinking of chimney sweeps), he was now invoking a more subtle truth.

    If you were to eliminate all the differences between feminine and masculine dress, beginning (most obviously) with bows and ruffles and then darts and linings, what would have to remain? What is the least difference before the suit becomes a completely masculine garment?

    The answer is the sensuous touch of the fabric. Mr. Theyskens's slim trousers and shorts, worn with knit jackets that had the smooth effect of cloth, may look boyish, but in silk or organdy, there is just one possible conclusion: "It can only be a girl," he said.


    Men: I issue you a challenge. Start wearing "sensuous" fabric jackets. I'll keep my corduroy.

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