Imagine then that you are the buyer for that perfect men's store in your mind and you're skimming the SS11 shows for your new season purchases. What are you looking for? Statement pieces that the label whores spot 2 blocks away before one hits the roof deck at The Standard (Raf Simons SS 11) ? Discrete, ordinary guy clothing rendered in insanely refined fabrics highlighted by the beautiful cut (Hermes SS 11) ? Or do you cut to the big bang accessories that may date badly in six months but create history in the back recesses of your closet? (Prada SS 11) . Designer menswear in a recessed culture may seem more and more superflous season after to season but there's one thing you can get from the bi-annual men's shows for free and that is ideas. Designers who propose an idea of dressing that is personal and passionate and individual is all you can truly hope for, which is why the Spring/Summer 2011 shows were so curious. You could feel the fear and timidity and the retail pressure in show after show but you could also pick up on a spirit of defiance on the part of those really evolved designers who felt driven to say something...even if no-one were to listen. These were some of TI's favorite...gestures.
Readers of this blog know that I am a massive fan of the menswear ideals at Givenchy and Rick Owens but those two designers offered a less than compelling SS11 season marked by that tendency to retread and recycle. Having a signature and reviving it is justified but displaying to the public the pronounced fact that your body of ideas is exhausted is not. It was especially alarming at Givenchy where the styling flourishes so overwhelmed the vaguely good ideas (TI is never mad at a dignified jumpsuit) that it was hard finding the redeeming factors.Let's just chalk it up as a passing glitch and trust that Tisci's usually potent punk catholicism will find new avenues of expression next season.