What menswear appears to supply this season is a turning level within the discourse of masculine id. Nearly all designers are embracing a progressive, daring, typically overtly defiant stance, each visually and conceptually, on the more and more blurred illustration of gender—an open supply, non-normative house the place vogue is taking the mantle as a cultural pressure. Ingenuity and provocative vitality appear to reign supreme. It’s undoubtedly a very good time to be a menswear designer.
Spencer Phipps desires to be a part of the dialog. He kicked off his exploration of masculine codes of illustration and the tribalism of manhood’s rites of passage by studying a guide—which in these instances of AI, XR, VR and brain-frying CG imagery is a commendable place to begin. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert L. Moore and Douglas Gillette investigates the archetypes of masculinity inhabiting every one among us: “I’d say it’s extra about human nature than about gender research, extra about perspective,” mentioned Phipps over Zoom from his studio in Paris, trying like a bearded Baba, cool with a benevolent Cali disposition. “So we began engaged on methods to symbolize masculinity for at the moment, taking a look at its varied tribes and groupings—punk road teams, navy teams, sports activities groups—and what the visible codes are that they use in the best way they costume.”
The unique Phipps spirit (each the label’s and possibly the person’s) is about an outdoorsy survival mode with a DIY, punkish mentality, “mixing issues which can be much less useful and type of bizarre and countercultural into the world of out of doors tradition,” he mentioned. Right here, archetypal tropes have been merged or flipped into “new modes of communication,” as he put it—taking a Dennis Rodman jersey tee and drowning it in glitter, doing fancy leopard-printed development staff’ gear or going powerful on a traditional rain jacket with piercing studs. The gathering’s DIY Punk Patagonia spirit (a superb description whose coinage was credited by the designer to my Vogue Runway colleague Luke Leitch) was heightened by an intensive upcycling apply that Phipps and his ream religiously devoted themselves to. An edited provide of one-off artisanal items referred to as Lab was completely made utilizing discovered objects and leather-based scraps; or reducing deadstock from a efficiency sportswear manufacturing unit into patchworked biker jackets; or turning vintage-sourced buckles or outdated bike tires into belts. “Issues nonetheless useful however with a little bit of psychedelic enjoyable—Phipps isn’t that sq.,” mentioned the designer. You wager.
You can even wager that he had fairly a blast engaged on cinematic turf. Increasing on the identical “closely critical subjects and harkening points and discussing them in a lighthearted method,” he mentioned, the gathering’s video (extra of a mini-movie actually) was a grand and trippy affair shot with innovative XR augmented know-how by French studio MADO XR, an prolonged actuality and digital manufacturing startup. 4 XR-generated surreal environments represented masculinity all through the ages of humanity—a prehistoric navy bunker; a forest with a rave in full swing supposed as a ceremony of passage; a gladiator area the place fears are confronted and, lastly, the galaxy, displaying a hopeful but nonetheless mysterious future. Populated by a large number of characters, a few of them a parody of male stereotypes, the venture lacked neither ambition nor ingenuity. “It was an enormous manufacturing, but it was truly made with a DIY spirit,” mentioned Phipps. “However know-how does a extremely good job of creating issues look a lot fancier than they’re.