Is the ideal man a waif or an Adonis? That’s the question New York Fashion Week will answer. Though rail-thin male models have dominated the last ten years on the catwalk, muscle-bound men are interrupting their spotlight — bringing along their inguinal creases.
In the Washington Post, fashion critic Robin Givhan — who is a joy to read, by the way — takes on the transition of male body types and points to Hedi Slimane’s reign at Dior Homme as the leader in selecting svelte men for his runway. Slimane’s models sort of resembled a not-so-distant androgynous cousin of Tilda Swinton: Quite thin with a striking face that wasn't necessarily in line with the traditional standard of beauty. Something about each model made them a little left of center and different.
In 2006, Slimane was praised by Style.com as presenting "a new way to be masculine." Now, eight years later, it seems that fashion has tired of his "willowy boy-men" with 29-inch waistlines. Currently, designers are looking for Thor look-a-likes, male models with pecs and six-packs — think less David Bowie/Thin White Duke and more Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy.
“For me personally, I’ve been evolving from ‘the skinny guy’ in high school and university to the more muscular guy,” says model Braeden Wright.
“I want to be someone who can look like a Greek warrior one minute, a gritty rocker the next,” Wright explains. In other words, he wants to have it both ways and keep working regardless of fashion’s whiplashing preferences.
Back in April, we learned that in Hollywood is all about Team Inguinal Crease: Male actors have joined the unrealistic beauty standards party which ladies have been forced to attend for so long. It's all about cut abs and bulging biceps right now. And while male models aren't necessarily preparing to play a superhero that can, say, save the entire galaxy from destruction, making sure a designer’s clothes look just right on a catwalk for 15 minutes under the hot lights of Lincoln Center is no small feat. The new breed of guy has probably spent weeks in the gym, obsessing over activity levels and carbohydrate intake while scarfing down mountains of protein. Beefing up can be just as hard as slimming down. But contemporary fashion is done with the super skinny rock'n roll type. For now.
Of course, the sartorial shift isn't fair — is anything ever, when it comes to fashion trends? — but the age of alternative looks is dying and the return of stereotypical so-called "manly" men is upon us. Beards — supposedly going out of style back in April — seem to be here to stay. It's all about looking more like a dude’s dude, and apparently, "manly" does not mean super-lean.
Image via Instagram.