David Gandy does Bloke Fashion (Xposure)
I used to think one of the saddest things about men’s fashion week was the haunted bodies of the barely legal male models, body-snatched from chippies in Weston-super-Mare or Morrisons in Preston, and suddenly transported on a carpet of saliva and wet hands to a draughty museum space in Chelsea, where they are stripped naked and pushed down the runway in front of rows of gropey designers and rapey politicians.
But that was before the worst thing that has ever happened to men’s fashion, which is the Peacock. Frows are now flooded with a natty tide of low-rent male celebs and knapsack ambassadors, such as David Gandy and Oliver Cheshire, a male model I only heard of five minutes ago, wearing an array of cheap tweed three-piece suits and suede fedoras, and shoes that look as if they have been stolen from 1930s corpses by Ozwald Boateng. By the time everything reaches Milan, as it did five days ago, it becomes “the Defcon 19 of peacockery, with the emphasis on cock”, screeches the fashion editor (he is snapping).
For all this, I blame Guy Ritchie, who has not only ruined the Victorian detective drama (see Sherlock, the BBC’s appalling, twiddly tribute to his film), but also now British menswear by bringing us Bloke Fashion, a world where it is acceptable to be built like a pie-fed navvy and squeeze one’s Protein World muscles into a shiny waistcoat.
I feel sad about the rise of Bloke Fashion, as espoused also by Tinie “Cleavage” Tempah and Lewis “Oooh, hanky” Hamilton, because the British do one thing better than anyone else, and that is menswear. Ties, shirts, suits and jackets were all invented on one of two streets in London: Savile Row or Jermyn Street. Lapels are the only thing the royal family ever gets right. (And even then probably only Prince Charles, who buys his at Anderson & Sheppard, where Alexander McQueen first worked. McQueen claimed he once drew a “big willy” on one of Charles’s jackets and used a Biro to write obscenities on the inside of another.)
Thanks to Ritchie, we have to put up with every toothpaste model from here to Croydon now dressed in crumpled hound’s-tooth check and ugly hand-stitched shoes as part of some kind of dapper panzer attack. If only Ritchie had paid more attention to actual British gangsters, he may have created a magnificent aesthetic. During the Hatton Garden robbery trial, it was claimed that one of the ringleaders slept “in his mum’s dressing gown and a fez”.
Hideous American weddings, part 867. Following reports last year that one wedding took place “at noon, on a deserted beach in far-flung Patagonia”, where the dress code was “gaucho” or “tango smart”, I now hear that Lauren, a lingerie designer, and Bobby, someone else, got married in East Hampton with “performance and installation art” and a “silent disco”.
Guests at the (presumably emetically expensive) wedding were “greeted with sound art, presented as a cacophony of tinkling bells interspersed with more resonant gong sounds in reflection of the zen ambience”. During the reception, butterfly performers “presented an hour-long durational dance around Kiki Smith sculptures”. After retrieving “their seat assignments” from “sphagnum moss falling from the boughs” of a cherry tree (so tiresome), guests enjoyed food described as “Willy Wonka-meets-farm-to-table”, with puddings that were “passed around the dancefloor on long, wooden, snake-like structures”. The entire thing felt like “Burning Man meets chic Hamptons garden soiree with Hawaiian bonfire and bluegrass music lovefest”. God help us all.
Personally, I find weddings that have been given any sort of thought or significant budget extraordinarily vulgar, so it is no surprise that the Americans lead the field in this kind of ego-driven middle-class wanquerie. There is only one thing worse than spending money on a wedding and that is forcing your guests to feel moved during the ceremony, as if the budget has been drawn up according to a merciless tears/dollars matrix. Did either of them stop to think for a moment what their guests might like? No. I give it four months.