Remember Samantha’s obsession for the Birkin bag by Hermes in the iconic TV series Sex And The City? As swiftly it is to get caught up in the tsunami that follows an uptick in women’s fashion, can the same be said for a growing micro-trend in menswear, such as the side bag that has remained clasped onto men’s chests since Spring Summer 2019? With evolving military and testosterone-fueled utilitarian silhouettes, it was only natural that harnesses, chest rigs, and bit bags would come tumbling out into the open.
But this Fall Winter, what we see on the runways of Paris and Milan is resolutely the apparition of the sac a main pour homme, a real handbag worn with the kind of flourish and detail so beloved of women.
As gender lines blur, so does the baggage of the ultimate status symbol, the ‘it’ bag.
It started with rappers and their tiny Chanel bags, and recently we saw Fendi make its famous Peekaboo for men, in bright red and blue nylon, in a special collab with Porter. At Dior Homme, where Kim Jones’ models stood still like robots on a conveyor belt, often with long silk scarves draped across their chests, the perfect addition was a tiny neck bag that popped out to carry the bare necessities. Similarly, Miuccia Prada’s dark, boxy suits in her romantic and dramatic show perfectly set off the dainty bags en chaine that models wore around their necks.
At Louis Vuitton, where Virgil Abloh referenced The Gloved One (aka the late Michael Jackson), neat, compact purses matched the elegance of the monochrome grey oversized suits and military-style jackets. Jacquemus turned to his early years in the South of France on a rural farm in Montpellier, despite the ‘real’ guys who played muse to his workwear aesthetic, there were charming off the cuff elements like flat bags worn proudly like badges won on the battlefield.
And Yoon Ahn (former Jewellery Chief at Dior Homme), in her line for Ambush, presented futuristic, polar uniforms with the ultimate murse — a chic and shiny USB stick in silver or gold, with all the data you’ll need for interstellar travel.
At the third Green Carpet Fashion Awards at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in September, Italian luxury maison Ermenegildo Zegna picked up the CNMI Award in Recognition for Sustainability and its long-standing commitment to this cause within the fashion system. The award also recognised Zegna for having introduced its #usetheexisting project under Alessandro Sartori’s artistic direction, which, launched as part of the Ermenegildo Zegna XXX Winter 2019 show and extended to the Summer 2020 show, marks the brand’s pledge to improve the usage of wool and technical fabrics from pre-existing sources using innovative processes and recycling materials such as plastic bottles and bamboo fibres. “Since the very beginning, our family business has been driven by a sustainable approach and a long-standing commitment towards the environment and the community”, says Ermenegildo Zegna, CEO of Ermenegildo Zegna Group. During the ceremony, Ermenegildo Zegna together with Alessandro Sartori were handed the award by Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder.
LOVE IS ALL AROUND
Couturier Manish Arora, the ‘king of collabs’, celebrates his special 40-piece unisex collection with Koovs and his friendship with Tuzki the emoji
This is Manish Arora Paris’ second collab with Koovs...
So we have a fairly large collection of 40 pieces – but what’s interesting is that it’s the first time any designer is collaborating with a mass market brand online as a unisex collection. I am curious to see how people will react to clothes that can be worn by both sexes. It’s gender free clothing.
What’s the funnest part of being inspired by the Chinese rabbit emoji Tuzki?
It’s a minimalistic yet expressive character I had on my phone, and I was obsessed with it. The creators approached me; I flew to China to meet them, and now we’re good friends. Then Tuzki came to my show in Paris; I turned him into me, with Tuzki meditating, Tuzki drinking a glass of champagne, flying. When Koovs came on board, it was time to spread Tuzki’s message – the reason we do Koovs is because of its large reach, as in the audience of customers – most people don’t have access to my work.
Can you tell us about the pieces?
There are jackets, T-shirts, dresses. Men can wear the T-shirts and jackets. Some pieces are unisex, perfect for winter; others are women-driven. Our prints will have a heart, our logo. The message is, love is love. Love is for everybody. Love is beyond gender. Our country is celebrating this; it’s been one year. Clothing is becoming gender neutral and I like that!
Your colours remain pink, gold?
It’s taken me 12 years to register my rani pink and gold, and I won’t stop it now. It’s my religion. You can ask a child, and they know I am pink and gold.