Are You a Post-Cultural Man?
From a multi-cultural melting pot of styles and inspirations to redefining masculinity as we know it, menswear designers in Paris are embracing their post-cultural, bohemian soul. But is it the real deal?
Kenzo Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.
There are two types of men who are the opposite of each other this fashion week: there is one who is a little paranoid and who protects himself, aware of his heavy responsibility in the decline of our natural living conditions, and one that embraces his vivacity, just as his sensibility and spirituality, with nonchalance.
It is the latter who generally has a penchant for nature, physical activities that require a certain form of know-how, or even spirituality, and a wardrobe that is just as special as it is comfortable. In this spirit, Kenzo's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon invited us to explore Peru's cultural and natural heritage, while engaging in the subject of psychedelic drugs.
When looking at Pablo Amaringo's dreamscape artwork that served as the show's set design, one couldn't help but note the clear reference made to Ayahuasca, a natural brew used among indigenous peoples like the Urarina of the Peruvian Amazon in traditional spiritual medicine and shamanism in order to invoke exploration through mind, body, and soul.
Simply put, Kenzo's Fall/Winter 2019-20 women's and men's collections catered to our Instagram generation – the same generation that does yoga retreats in Tulum during the winter holidays, that replaces Sephora beauty products with holistic ones, and that celebrates the super moon this Sunday night while taking a selfie during the ceremony.
Facetasm Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
Equally eclectic, yet less wearable on a daily basis, the Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck and the Japanese designer Hiromichi Ochiai at Facetasm mixed-and-matched a multitude of styles and attitudes in their collections, sometimes even digging into the ridicule in order to deconstruct the diktat of the trend. It was all about going beyond all inspirations and cultural references to create a style that is fully post-cultural, somehow self-sufficient.
But what is a post-cultural man, you ask? Just compare our generation with the one of your grandfathers and you have the answer. Generally speaking, connections between different cultures and levels of society are not uncommon or even gradual anymore, on the contrary: our generation is characterized by a fast and frequent exchange of information and deconstructs all kinds of boundaries (cultural, societal, and gender-related), that are de facto slowly vanishing.
At the same time, this very generation mixes highs and lows, while being obsessed with newness and nostalgia at the same time. Moreover, with the on-going #metoo phenomenon, the perception of masculinity and identity of the man and his role within society are currently being re-defined. In other words: the post-cultural man is the multifaceted product of our post-modern, digitalized, 21st century. A man whose only constant is change, yet who dreams and re-invents the past in an attempt to not lose what we call heritage.
Givenchy Fall/Winter 2019 menswear collection. Photos: Courtesy of Givenchy.
In fact, it was Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy who was able to define a post-cultural man's wardrobe in the most relevant way: her debut collection featured a Givenchy man whose only type of eccentricity was an intellectual one. He made an impression with sleek, bohemian, yet dressy, staple pieces, and caught our attention without ever invading the space in which he evolves. Needless to say, Clare Waight Keller's post-cultural man is definitely a very introspective and intellectual one.
In this sense, Givenchy's Fall/Winter 2019-20 men's collection was emblematic of today's state of the luxury industry. After all, when it comes to fashion, we are going through an introspective period of questioning and challenging rules, norms, and genders, as well as embracing spirituality, artistic modes, and craftsmanship from other cultures that have previously been ignored.
Sacai Fall/Winter 2019 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
Certainly, if we look for a style that seems to encapsulate the need for change and activism in world fashion, the post-cultural hippie style fits the bill. Sacai was particularly good at it this season: in attempt to play and deconstruct archetype menswear silhouettes, Chitose Abe dived into the notion of the cultural melting-pot in order to reinterpret her own signature style hybrid tailoring and to celebrate "togetherness and freedom of being," as she stated in her collection's press release.
This post-cultural style to which she referred throughout her collection is defined by rejecting absolutes, rationalism, cultural and societal norms, while taking on board various forms of spirituality and an "anything goes" type of mentality. Only the rejection of materialism, which is at the heart of the hippie soul as we know it, does not fit into the equation. That being said, while fashion can be post-cultural, capitalism certainly can't and never will be – to the detriment of the most high-handed human rights idealists.