Something borrowed (Part 2)

Sometimes you have to copy shamelessly. The best way to do so, without any remorse whatsoever, is to copy yourself. When I realized that once again I’m attracted to write about menswear, I remembered an article written during my guest blogging day at les mads earlier this year. It occurred to me that several topics relevant to this series were hidden in those lines such as the revival of the pantsuit in the spring 2011 collections or the revival of the gentleman. But let’s dip our toe into a short recap of the history of menswear in our wardrobe first.

Sometimes we have to remember that some influences in fashion were not always a given. Long before expressions like the boyfriend look belonged to the repertoire in our language and were included in the vocabulary of the fashion editors, women were inspired by menswear. You have just to remember Mademoiselle Chanel who urgently wanted to flee the uncomfortable feeling of restriction due to the corset. She was so fed up that she simply grabbed her boyfriend’s riding clothes and walked straight to a tailor where she ordered a pair of jodhpurs – in her size. The commissioned tailor cried out in despair: “But Madame this isn’t appropriate for ladies!” Eventually he executed the wish, but only reluctantly. Her boyfriend, Étienne Balsan, found those peculiarities quite charming back in the days, yet in 1907 this kind of fashion choice was unconventional to say the least and lead to many a raised eyebrow.
Actress Diane Keaton had to encounter quite a similar experience during the making of the film Annie Hall. Once she stepped on the set, the costume designer wasn’t enthusiastic about her look to say the least, as remembers director Woody Allen. She implored him not to let her wear this kind of outfits on the screen. „Tell her not to wear that. She can’t wear that. It’s so crazy.“ Woody Allen in turn wasn’t fazed and simply replied to leave her alone, „she should be wearing what she wants“. And what Diane wanted were oversized men’s jackets skillfully combined with loosely cut trousers and long skirts. She also had a soft spot for ties. What was surprising back then, and what was sometimes seen as outrageously bad taste, developed over time into a trend and is still a path breaking influence in fashion.

One of the numerous homages to the style icon is the editorial Diane K shot by Mikael Jansson in 2009 for Vogue Paris.

More and more women become true enthusiasts when it comes to menswear, a phenomenon which can be easily observed in the blogging world. Illustrator and streetstyle photographer Garance Doré shops frequently in the closet of her boyfriend Scott Schuman aka The Sartorialist. Her love and dedication to rolled-up trousers, men’s shirts and brogues goes a long way: menswear counts among her essential inspiration sources when it comes to her personal style, she stated in an interview with Refinery 29. The outcome: looks with a laid-back attitude. In my opinion they deserve their very own post. Not a raised eyebrow.

Images: Mikael Jansson

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