There’s a web trend for videos depicting social experiments where men are forced to take on the tasks or burdens of women - ‘What happens when men spend a day in heels?!’, ‘We made men deal with street harassment’ and so on. It’s a useful tool in the Everyday Sexism campaign. Today’s S/S 17 DSquared2 show felt a bit like one of those ‘eye-opening’ videos. We, the fashion pack, have got so used to seeing baby-faced female models tottering and hobbling down the runway in uncomfortably high heels that we’ve become numb to it. When it’s an entire cast of male models forced to trek down a Milanese runway in glam rock platform boots, awkwardly striding, knees bent, in order to keep stable, one remembers how bizarre and, ironically, unglamorous and out-of-touch fashion shows can be. This styling addition made for uncomfortable viewing - the boots added nothing to the clothes or the story and were so oppressively nostalgic that they made the show feel costumey and gauche. Plus, those very shoes have already been revived, back for S/S 15 by younger, braver brands such as Vetements, so the ‘statement’ didn’t even pack much of a punch. This was, on that note, certainly intended as a statement. The show notes talked of ‘androgyny’ - clearly Dean and Dan Caten were trying to weasel their way into the current gender focused conversations going on in fashion, again started by younger, braver brands. This from the pair who have, for years, promoted buff topless boys dressed in the cliched remnants of typical, cartoon masculinity and youthful girls in minis, heels and overtly sexual garb.
That desire to echo back the current buzz also explains the embarrassing reference to taking ‘style details from working class youth subculture along the way.’ Poverty porn is rife in fashion - it’s offensive and awkward. The duo’s obliviousness to this and their fetishisation of the ‘working classes’ felt as uncomfortable as those shoes. The clothes didn’t say much about glam rock or ‘urban street culture’. They were business as usual - vintage look jackets and outwear, sharp tailoring and showy denim.