0006 - BACKLESS TREND PT. 1

We need an intervention. After Gucci’s rocket-rise throughout 2017 I knew there was hope. We were reminded of the creativity, color clash, and crazy chicness that design houses could offer, especially for Menswear: floral prints became a staple in every department store as Gucci’s enormous popularity trickled down to affordable bite-sized chunks for the everyday consumer. It really did feel like a fashion revival. There was hope.

A Zara backless loafer

The Princetown backless loafer shook the fashion industry and stylists, influencers, and celebrities alike couldn’t get enough. Everyone wanted to pair these expensively classy shoes with jeans for an on the go look, slacks that sagged low and said casuàl, or a head to toe Gucci ensemble that screamed “sauce!”
But alas the dream could not last forever: high street brands couldn’t market the idea to the regular shopper because it didn’t suit a regular outfit. Nobody really knew how to wear a mule though everyone saw everyone do it. It was an aspiration for most but you want to spend money on something that you’ll wear, that’ll last, right?

 So summer saw the rise and fall of the backless loafer and the trend returned to a category for Womenswear, because women are the most fashion aware in our generation ( so they tell us): slingback sandals endured the “rise and fall” backed by the peep toe, the mule and all other shoes.

 *sigh*

 Yet again men’s style was sidelined. The Machine didn’t deem us interesting enough to sell to. We were told we aren’t into fashion the way women were, we are one-sided, we aren’t beautiful creatures like them. We couldn’t handle a wide variety of shoes because shoes is a woman thing. The gender imbalance when referring to fashion is one that should surprise, because historically men were the savants of style.
 French Revolution style was one of the first European examples of highly fashionable males. High-heeled shoes, golden brocade trimmings and powdered faces all formed the zeitgeist of that era, and men were the fashionable beings in society.

 Hundreds of years later and it seems we’ve lost that connection to our cosmetic selves, self-care only became a trend in 2018 and even that doesn’t recognise man’s ability to dress colourfully. And this has nothing to do with sexuality either.
We’ve been fed an unnatural narrative that men should dress in line with their sexual orientation, and straight men aren’t supposed to express themselves. Colours and experimentation is marketed to flamboyant and homosexual men only, leaving the rest of us with 50 different ways to tie a tie.

 What happened to the elegant dress of the French and many other cultures before that? Gucci gave us hope but we need to shift the conversation completely. It shouldn’t be reserved for celebrities to showcase different styles in a gilt cage, diversity should be made accessible for all men.
 Or am I the only one rooting for this change?

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