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Male-female crossover in fashion

Belgian designers Dries van Noten and Kris van Assche both created looks that were strong and masculine, while dipping into the woman's wardrobe.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 11:31 IST
AFP

Menswear designers on Saturday offered a dash of modern elegance for next winter that was still in touch with its feminine side, showing that the male-female crossover in fashion is alive and well.

While androgyny comes and goes from the world's catwalks and shopfronts, Belgian designers Dries van Noten and Kris van Assche both created looks that were overtly strong and masculine, while dipping into the woman's wardrobe.

The result: a softening around the edges. With a few nods to the 1980s, van Noten rounded off his dynamic autumn-winter 2007-08 wardrobe of two-tone fabrics, bomber jackets and long sheer sweaters by loosely tying silk print scarves around models' shoulders.

"I think that's really part of elegance, I think 'why not'. You can easily mix masculine and feminine elements in a collection, like extremely shiny shoes," the designer said. "My main thing that I wanted to do was create a kind of a strange elegance, really with a lot of attention to details, shapes and colours and proportions," he said.

In his brief programme note, van Assche waxed lyrical about a "tough guy with a tender heart". In fact, what he sent out did evoke a sense of outer macho utility, hiding a softer, more poetic side within.

The Belgian, a former assistant to Dior designer Hedi Slimane, offered plenty of cosy puffer jackets, waistcoats or coats in an array of colours, cargo or drawstring pants and ankle boots. The ultimate in his and hers dressing — female models wore versions of the boy's clothes, or their own take on mannish staples like a satiny shirt-dress or low-sitting trousers.

Fellow Belgian Raf Simons gave a rigorous lesson in the cut and construction of clothes with coats featuring lined insets up the back which were sometimes partly zipped, and jackets and pants sculpted to precision.

The former furniture designer had sent out invitations to the show with pencil sketched gloves on them, which turned out to be key to the look, at times high to the upper arm.