What menswear seems to offer this season is a turning point in the discourse of male identity. Almost all designers take a progressive, daring, sometimes overtly provocative stance, both visually and conceptually, on the increasingly blurred representation of gender – an open source, non-normative space where fashion takes over as a force. cultural. Ingenuity and provocative vitality seem to reign supreme. This is definitely a good time to be a menswear designer.
Spencer Phipps wants to be part of the conversation. He kicked off his exploration of male representational codes and the tribalism of virility rites of passage by reading a book that, in these times of brain-fried AI, XR, VR, and CG imagery, is a commendable starting point. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert L. Moore and Douglas Gillette investigates the archetypes of masculinity that inhabit each of us: “I would say it’s more a matter of human nature than of gender studies, more of ‘attitude,’ Phipps told Zoom from his studio in Paris, looking like a bearded, cool Baba with a benevolent Cali disposition. “So we started working on ways to represent today’s masculinity, looking at its different tribes and groups – punk street groups, military groups, sports teams – and what visual codes they use in the way they dress. “
The original spirit of Phipps (both that of the label and probably that of the man) is about an outdoor survival mode with a DIY and punk mentality, “mixing things less functional and a bit quirky and counter-cultural. in the world of outdoor culture, ”he said. Here, the archetypal tropes have been merged or transformed into “new modes of communication,” as he put it: taking a Dennis Rodman jersey t-shirt and drowning it in sequins, making workman’s gear from the building in leopard print or tackle a classic rain jacket. with piercing nails. The DIY Punk Patagonia spirit of the collection (a brilliant description whose coin was credited by the designer to my Vogue Runway colleague Luke Leitch) was bolstered by an extensive recycling practice to which Phipps and his rowing devoted themselves religiously. . An edited range of unique handcrafted pieces called Lab was entirely made from found objects and leather scraps; or cut the corpses of a performance sportswear factory into patchwork biker jackets; or turn original buckles or old bicycle tires into belts. “Still working stuff but with a little psychedelic fun — Phipps isn’t that square,” the designer said. You bet.
You can also bet he had a blast working on cinematic turf. Developing the same “very serious topics and recurring issues and chatting in a light way,” he said, the collection video (plus a mini-movie actually) was a grand, trippy affair shot with the Cutting-edge XR technology augmented by French studio MADO XR, an extended reality and virtual production startup. Four surreal environments generated by XR represented masculinity through the ages of humanity: a prehistoric military bunker; a forest with a thriving rave conceived as a rite of passage; a gladiatorial arena where fears are confronted and, finally, the galaxy, showing a future full of hope but still mysterious. Populated by a multitude of characters, some of whom are a parody of male stereotypes, the project lacks neither ambition nor ingenuity. “It was a big production, but it was actually done with a DIY spirit,” said Phipps. “But the technology does a really good job of making things a lot more sophisticated than they are.