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Does the man skirt have a future in real life?

Skirts were everywhere on the men’s fall-winter catwalks. However, she struggles to establish herself on the street. Outside of the fashion sphere, will men really embrace the trend?

A new costume?

Hard to miss. On the catwalks of autumn-winter 2023-2024. she was everywhere. From big luxury names to young avant-garde designers, everyone has put the men’s skirt in the spotlight. In the house of Dior, Gucci, Kenzo, CourrègesMarine Serre or even Givenchy, stands out solo, layered over trousers, short, in denim, wool, grunge or made in a neo-sartorialist spirit. After pink, transparent, floral print or tight top, can a skirt be the ultimate fashion avatar? without gender – this now mainstream trend that breaks free from the male-female binary? “This season, the men’s skirt is seen more as an extension of the cut,” says Thomas Zylberman, stylist and trendsetter at the Carlin International style office. Worn layered over trousers like a new three-piece suit or mimicking a gray flannel jacket, it remains in men’s vocabulary.” Nevertheless, this “generally feminine” garment, as Larousse defines it, is the pinnacle of the menswear season.

Alejandro Acero, from the magazine Walk. Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

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End of December 2022. New York magazine Cut he had already declared that the year was the year of the man in the skirt. You still ask the question: “How relevant is a trend if only a handful of people, in a certain space, can make it their own?” The premises in question? Red carpets, in particular, where fashion actors began to boldly enter without gender (we all have in mind Timothée Chalamet revealing a bare back at the 2022 Venice Film Festival). On the side of the skirt, the actor Billy Porter in 2019, she was among the first to climb the steps of the Oscars with model Christiano Siriano. Singer next year Harry Styles he also broke the dictates of the genre by posing on the cover Vogue An American in a Gucci dress, and in 2022, Brad Pitt appeared in a kilt with bare legs, in Berlin, at the premiere of the film Express train.

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Mediator of social networks

Other safe spaces: social networks. Mark Bryan, a 62-year-old impact engineer and grandfather of four, likes to incorporate skirts and heels into his daily wardrobe, as he demonstrates on Instagram. There Gen Z can’t be beat: behind their smartphone screen TikTokers sport-inspired pleated skirts Y2Klike Britney Spears in the music video Baby one more time. Given that the hashtag boysinskirt has 286 million views, we cannot speak of a micro-phenomenon. But what about in real life? Is this feminine piece visible on men in everyday life? Vincent, the coach, has been working at a private school in Paris for three years. In June 2023, when the thermometer exceeded 30°C for several days, he arrived at the institution in a long blue and white skirt with a print. The deputy director calls out to him: “Sir, I will ask you to leave.” The reason for his dismissal: provocation by inappropriate clothing.

I love the feeling of freedom that the skirt gives me, the air passing between my legs

Jérémie, press officer

Jérémie, 30, a media officer, started wearing designer skirts Like boys from one year. “I didn’t accept it, and then I dared. But, working in fashion, I think people’s views are different. I love the feeling of freedom that the skirt gives me, the air passing between my legs. But I notice that some people are pointing fingers at me while laughing. However, that doesn’t take anything away from me masculinity. Besides, my fiancee likes me in a skirt. On the other hand, my friends sometimes tell me that I don’t wear my “girlfriend” when I go out with them, she continues amusedly. For them, a skirt is the antithesis of masculinity.” The same story from Helmut, community manager, heterosexual, for whom a skirt is an exercise in style. She often wears the signature flower ball model Don’t care about Uniqlo. “I don’t wear it out of activism, but because I’m a fashion lover,” he says. In Korea or Japan, for example, it is not a subject. But here we consider the skirt to be debatable. The openness is not there yet. When I walk in the Marais, it’s fine, but in Bagnolet, where I live, I see people looking at me in wonder. Why ? Women wear pants well.”

Jaden Smith in Thom Browne at Paris Fashion Week. (October 3, 2023) Denis Guignebourg / Denis Guignebourg / Best picture

An ancient detour for modern progress

Is the men’s skirt just a catwalk fantasy promoted only on TikTok or Instagram by fashion designers? Thomas Zylberman explains: “When a man wears it, it remains an event, a gesture that concerns a very small segment of the population who are interested in fashion or who work in this industry.” For others, it remains assimilated to folklore (the Scottish kilt) or the claims of a rebellious designer, such as Jean Paul Gaultierwho was one of the pioneers of the men’s skirt in the 1980s.” Another problem arose: where to buy a men’s skirt? “The average citizen who wanted to get one wouldn’t even know where to go,” continues Thomas Zilberman. Only luxury brands carry them in their collections. Affordable brands or big fashion brands don’t offer them.”

With socks?

Last concern: how to wear it when you’re a man. IN superposition ? With socks? Want to hide your hairy legs? It lacks suitable models. In the West, more precisely, because on other continents, in other cultures, it is perceived differently, especially in Asia or the Middle East, where necklaces, sarongs and djellabes are attributed to men. “However, in our regions, the skirt was not always gendered,” analyzes Julien Baulu, professor of fashion history at the French Fashion Institute. In ancient Greece and Rome, a short chiton ending in a pleated skirt was mostly worn by men. Until the Middle Ages, the construction of clothing, a kind of open tunic, was the same for both sexes. Only since the Renaissance has the skirt been relegated to women’s wardrobe.”

The skirt worn by dancer Iman Delbois during Paris Fashion Week. Valentina Valdinoci/IMAXTREE.COM / IMAXTREE.COM

A movement that has been more strongly established since the French Revolution and the 19th centurye century. The era conquered by Puritanism will produce men and women as much as possible. We put the latter in clothing fittings (crinoline, skirt, etc.), while gentlemen gain practicality (trousers) to move better. Today, if the so-called weaker sex has managed to evolve on the subject, men remain cautious when it comes to the boundaries of their dressing room.

Why ? “Their relationship with the body is more complicated,” analyzes Julien Baulu. Getting them to wear clothes that might reveal their legs and possibly their anatomy isn’t the easiest thing to do. Women were dressed, undressed, naked, objectified, fetishized, and among men we find several counterexamples. alone Gaultierplayed with the male object but remaining within the gay masculine referent, displaying an unconventional persistence associated with his time.” So, is it imaginable to see men in skirts in the subway, restaurant or office one day? “New generations may change this state of consciousness,” concludes Julien Baulu. But the road to get there will certainly be complicated.”

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