Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Threat to My Esteem, Apparently. Not.

From the WaPo, on fashion (or, perhaps FASHION)

NEW YORK -- Apparently a significant number of parents have stopped insisting that their sons eat their vegetables, drink their milk and take their Flintstones vitamins. This group of underfed boys is growing up to become models and threatening the self-esteem of men who always cleaned their plates.

Kick sand in their faces if you want. They will keep on coming. And their hair will be perfectly tousled.

Back in the days before metrosexuals, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and entire books dedicated to grooming products, the models marching down menswear runways tended to look a bit sheepish and embarrassed to be there. They gave the impression that they had been coerced into participating through some form of blackmail involving tequila shots and police officers with no sense of humor. The men were rakish and slim, but they did not have the look of hunger associated with their female counterparts.

Now the fellas mostly look happy to be on the catwalk, pleased with the opportunity to preen and strut. But too many of them have the underdeveloped physiques of 12-year-olds. Some possess a preternatural boyish demeanor and look to be up past their bedtime.

This was especially striking Friday when menswear designer John Varvatos presented his fall collection. Varvatos has built his reputation on an aesthetic that celebrates grown-up men. His clothes have always suggested a version of masculinity that is both familiar and reassuring, neither exaggerated nor understated. The palette, as in the past, is dominated by pine, mushroom, sage and lapis, with silhouettes that leave room for broad shoulders and strong legs, but also a bit of leeway for the paunchy gentleman who spends more time riding around in a golf cart than walking 18 holes.


"The paunchy gentlemen"? As Ronald Reagan said, "My chairman, I paid for this paunch!" (Okay, no he didn't. He said microphone, but....). But I did pay for this paunch. One pizza, and one Guinness, at a time. It is not so much a paunch as an investment. I don't need pine, mushroom, sage, and lapis (sounds like a recipe, not a palette! Just toss with some angel hair and extra virgin olive oil, which the lapis will turn a nice blue color)