When designer Hedi Slimane took over the reigns at Dior Homme in 2000, he single handedly changed how men on the runways looked. The ripped, tanned, broad shouldered, almost god like man seen often on the runways of Men’s Week in Milan and Paris was replaced by slouchy, pale, tattooed teenagers. And now somewhat ironically, 10 years down the line, the ‘Slimane boys’ have reached near extinction themselves on the fashion runways.
At the menswear shows this year a ‘new’ man strutted out on the runways. You might know him? He’s probably sitting next to you in the metro right now or ordering a coffee in front of you at café. While the ramps saw the dawn of wearable fashion, it seems, along with crisp suits, tailored jackets and khaki pants; the regular, fit guy has also arrived onto the international fashion scene. “Slimane’s designs were a vision of sex, drugs and rock n roll. He brought the Mick Jagger of the 70s back in vogue. Before that it was the ultra glam of the 90s which is why models were tanned, muscled and square jawed. But fashion is about constant evolution and now it seems evolution is in favour of the normal guy,” says designer Hemant Sagar.
Now it’s not just that the aesthetics of fashion designers are undergoing a customary change. Rather it appears men have become surer about their masculinity and themselves. “Either it was the really buffed guy or it was the ultra skinny, almost androgynous male models that were projected as acceptable norms of manhood to us. But now the images being presented, be it in fashion or lifestyle, are far more approachable. After all, eventually this is all business and the customer is now demanding what he wants rather being told what to ask for,” says Kabeer Sharma, associate editor of
“Men are far more sorted in the head now and have started defining what ‘looks good’ for themselves. They aren’t following trends or terms coined by the media or fashion designers just for the heck of it. They’ve also realised how important being fit is to look good,” says Jamal Shaikh, editor of
India. Real men, it seems, are finally back in vogue.