When it comes to bottoms, skirt not the issue. To wear or not to wear the skirts that were shown in Paris during the just-concluded fashion week? I can’t answer for you, but I sense there’s something in the air. So prevalent were these non-pants that guys are, for once, encouraged to discuss (or dis) hemlines. It’s not just only about whether they’re willing to wear skirts but, if they are, of what length? Would it be the mini, A-line ones at Givenchy? Or the knee-lengths at Comme des Garcons? Or the heel-grazing tunics at Rick Owens?
What’s clear is that none of these pieces are man-friendly kilts or sarongs or dhotis or wannabes. To me, they are doubtlessly skirts, those that women are partial to. Is their undisguised appearance the shattering of the last sartorial taboo for men? Or a shift in masculine aesthetics by, er, dress? Or a silly trend?
In Thailand, or, specifically Bangkok, where society is polarised by political affiliation rather than gender identity, men are perhaps less proned to disparage those who prefer skirted garments. Fashion in Thai culture is more likely to be fashionable when you break rules. Going by many Thai men’s proclivity to feminine styles, skirts for poochai may not be that outrageous. In fact, I think they could be highly adoptable!
The Twitter generation only recently exposed to live streaming of fashion shows is not likely to be aware that skirts for men are really not that new. It has a modern history that can be traced to Jean Paul Gaultier, who introduced the “man-skirt” as early as 1985. Not long after, skirts or skirt-like shorts (or, horrors, skorts!) started to appear at Comme des Garcons. Even then, these skirts, although controversial, were not a cross-dressing statement. For Gaultier, they were, and have been, a male wardrobe option.
While there are those designers who put out skirts during Men’s Fashion Week and don’t wear them, there are those who do not show skirts but wear them. Marc Jacobs, we have seen, is fond of taking his catwalk bow and attending fashion events in a kilt. As shown this past week, why pretend to be a man of the Scot when, naturally, you can be a man in a skirt?