Monday, July 27, 2009

Talking Obama's jeans, flood pants and meggings with ABC Local Radio Queensland

getty via daylife

Radio shows often call hoping to throw light on the various fashion stories which pop up in the papers. I thought I might as well start podcasting them, as a kind of archive. Bear in mind these are usually drive time programs with general audiences – as distinct from the hardcore fashion audience that comes to this blog. It’s interesting to segue between the two. First up, last week’s chat with the State-wide Afternoons show on ABC Local Radio Queensland. The subject was the pair of baggy jeans worn by Barack Obama to the All-Star baseball game and which had been the target of quite some media ribbing the world over. The show host was also keen to talk fashion tips for guys over 40 and we moved onto high fashion runway trends from the recent SS10 shows, notably the omnipresent cropped trouser and the male harem pant. Click the player above to hear - and please bear with me as I iron out teething podcast problems.


A Colourful Guy Drowning In A Sea Of Penguins said...

Hi Patty,

Thanks for making the audio available. It was a pleasure to listen to.

Obama's jeans? Man! People really need something else to talk about! *roll eyes* His jeans looked perfectly fine on him. And, I'd imagine them to be very comfortable.

Cropped pants? Americans call them "flood water" or "high water" pants. Being an ex-pat American I'd know.

What do I think of this trend? It's not something I'd wear and I don't think it looks good. However, it seems to be popular with 18-35 year old white males in NYC at the moment. Quite frankly, I don't like most of what comes out of the New York fashion scene in terms of menswear.

Skinny jeans? Oh, god! I hate them and I've never seen a guy that I thought look good in them! Slim fit jeans I don't have a problem with though and I own a few pairs.

Harem pants! MC Hammer popularized them back in the 80s. And, yeah! I did own some back then! Would I wear them now? Perhaps, if I was going for Arabic or Northern African inspired look.

The DJ you were chatting with was talking men letting the mothers, girlfriends and wives select their clothing for him: How sad for him, and any other man, if they live that way! To me, that's just giving someone else too much control over my life; I'd never allow it.

As a small boy I always had input into what clothing was purchased for me by my parents. And, as I grew older and more independent, no one other than myself - I emphasize that - ever had a say in what I wore. They didn't dare to! *wink* Even now, as an adult man, I rarely take my wife along when I go shopping for myself. On the odd occasion when I have, and she tried to offer her input into the process, I'd quickly shut her down.

You were discussing recent androgynous trends in menswear. However, as I'm sure you already know, that sort of thing has been around since at least the 70s. Early glam rockers like David Bowie, the New York Dolls, even Led Zeppelin, to a certain extent, all toyed with androgyny. And, it was even showing up as early as the mid to late 60s in the Hippie movement.

I personally don't have a problem with androgyny in menswear, as long as it's not taken too far, and guys start looking like transvestites. (Nothing wrong with that. I just don't want to look like one.) Some might even say that I manifest androgyny in my own appearance since I have double piercings in both of my earlobes. However, I consciously did it as a nod to my multiethnic and multicultural heritage; I'm of one third each Western African, Native American and Western European descent. In the former two the men frequently adorn themselves with ear jewelry.

Kind regards

Patty Huntington said...

wow, fascinating. thanks for the insights. what a stylish man you sound.

just on flood pants - that's definitely one term that's being bandied around for the trend. google flood pants and the name thom browne. he's the US menswear designer who is credited with popularising the current cropped trouser trend. he showed them as far back as 2004/2005 and the look has become a signature. i only realised this after the recent SS10 milan and paris shows wrapped and we were all talking about cropped pants.

A Colourful Guy Drowning In A Sea Of Penguins said...

Floods vs flood water? OK! That's fine and I'm not going to argue over it. ;)

Yeah, I'm familiar with Thom Browne's work. Do I like it? Noooo! However, I don't dislike it because it's quirky; I dislike it because it's bland.

Myself and quite a few other guys had a big debate about Mr. Browne's work over on a few months back. Interestingly enough, the debate exposed a generational divide: Some, but not all, of the <=25 crowd thought his stuff was fantastic. And, the 35+ crowd just thought it looked stupid. Among the 35+ crowd were some very fashionable men - I'm talking guys that pour over every men's fashion resource that they can find and that spend thousands on their wardrobes.

If Mr. Browne's current financial position is anything to go by - his signature label is supposedly on the verge of bankruptcy - I don't think the cropped pants trend is going really catch on with most men. Geek Chic, the genre that they belong to, really only works on the very young. And, since most young people don't really have much money, it's very small niche market.

Kind regards

Patty Huntington said...

you are, of course, entitled to your personal opinion.

but just on browne, he has new management and a new equity partner:

and the cropped trouser trend was all over the milan and paris SS10 runways last month. every second collection featured it. whether it catches on at the retail, and mass market, levels, remains to be seen. but the designer end of the market seems to be pushing it at the moment.

A Colourful Guy Drowning In A Sea Of Penguins said...

Hi Patty,

Regarding Thom Browne: When I said it was bland, I was referring to his colour palette. Good for him on securing new financing, regardless of whether I appreciate his vision or not.

I was just reviewing some coverage of Milan, and I really didn't notice that many collections featuring cropped pants. Bottega Veneta did do some. However, of the "pure" Italian labels that showed, they were about the only ones I noticed doing so.

Paris? Well, I didn't pay much attention to it this season as I just find most Parisian menswear to be too morose/outlandish for my taste.

Regarding designers pushing certain styles: Well, you and I both know how that goes. Sometimes they're successful at promoting their vision. However, more often then not, the public looks the other way.

Kind regards

Patty Huntington said...

bottega veneta, dolce e gabbana, missoni, gucci, z zegna, marni, bally, among others, showed the look. i reported as the shows were running, on twitter and the blog. here's a runway trend story from milan called "dressing for rising tides" from the NY Times:

but predating these shows, i gather there has been a retail groundswell on this trend for at least one year. here is a 2008 story from the WSJ. you will note they mention browne:

A Colourful Guy Drowning In A Sea Of Penguins said...

While Bruce Pask, the author of that first article, includes roll cuffed pants into the cropped category, I don't. To me the two looks are quite distinct from each other. The roll cuffing of one's pants is about styling, while cropping them has to do with the cut. This is probably where the confusion is coming from in our discussion.

I really can't see how Pask, or anyone else for that matter, can attribute the rise of roll cuffed pants trend to Thom Browne, since the look predates Browne by many decades. However, with Pask being a New Yorker - I assume - he'll, of course, see things through a New Yorker's eyes.

Kind regards

Patty Huntington said...

far me it from me to put words in mr pask's mouth but i do believe that he, along with the WSJ journal writer, are suggesting that browne may have played a key role in popularising the cropped pants look over the past five years. i don't recall seeing anyone suggest that browne invented the look.

as for the milan SS10 runway season, there appears to be no confusion. leaving to the side all those shows in which trouser legs were merely rolled up by stylists to create a cuffed look - and we saw this in a plethora of collections - here is a list of those presentations showing actual cropped trousers. that is, trouser legs that were attenuated at the ankle or slightly higher.

z zegna
bottega veneta
emporio armani
ermanno scervino
john varvatos
moncler gamme bleu
io ipse idem par romeo gigli
salvatore ferragamo
neil barrett
vivienne westwood
ermenegildo zegna

source: wwd

A Colourful Guy Drowning In A Sea Of Penguins said...

Now I see why I didn't notice the cropping on the collections you mentioned: With the exceptions of Bottega Veneta, Vivienne Westwood
Trussardi and Ermenegildo Zegna, all of them got rejected by me for various reasons. Granted, I was working with less than high-res of images at the time when I was reviewing them. However, I did see enough to dismiss them.

When I look at a collection I prioritize my viewing as follows:

1. Palette - If the colours used are too dark, or too monochromatic, I wont look any further. (Living here in NZ, as I have for the last 10+, I've grown quite sick of dark/monochromatic clothing.)

2. Form/silhouette - I'm open to slim, full and fitted silhouettes. However, skinny gets tossed out.

3. Texture/fabric - Intricate weaves and prints keep me interested. However, I don't like an overusage of either or just out and out silliness.

4. Details - If the collection has made it past the first 3 - most don't for me - then I'll zoom in on the details. However, I find that almost impossible to do from photos and need to examine the clothing in person.

Also, another thing that I noticed was that most of the Milan collections were using very subtle cropping - Thom Browne's stuff tends to go right up to the calf. And, since you mentioned him that was the style I was looking for. My bad!

The kind of cropping I just noticed seems reminiscent of the stove pipe trousers that all the "cool cats" wore in the US during the 50s. I wasn't around then. However, I've seen enough old photos from that era of my Dad, and his friends, to recognize it was a trend. The "cool cats" used to wear boots of some sort - either Chelsea or work - with their stove pipes. And, yeah, it did look pretty good - most of the time that is. ;)

Kind regards

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