Milan Menswear Fall 2008
Dates: Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 to Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008

from the Les Hommes Spring 2008 collection
from the Les Hommes Spring 2008 collection

DALLAS, Dec 1, 2007 / FW/ — Continuing on our Menswear 2.0 prediction last Spring 2008 season, the Fall 2008 menswear collections is expected to be full of surprises.

And while the fashionistas are pleasantly expecting new silhouettes, the designers are busy experimenting and testing new textiles, as already been seen during the Spring 2008 womenswear season wherein new fabric and unconventional materials ruled the catwalk.

Hence the question, ‘are new materials the precursor to the new silhouettes or are they the new silhouettes?’ is just waiting to be asked.

History tells us that Paco Rabanne pioneered the use of unconventional materials for clothing during the 1960s. His futuristic vision of fashion even reached Hollywood when he became the costume designer for the 1968 sci-fi film ‘Barbarella’ starring Jane Fonda.

So, is the current crop of fashion designers being innovative by doing something that has been done before? YES!

In science, researchers build on top of the knowledge that had preceded them. Good example is that Einstein Theory of Relativity has been the basis of the current studies of quantum physics.

Putting that premise in fashion, Paco Rabanne is the undisputed pioneer of using unconventional materials, and today’s designers are building on that by raising that fashion genre into another new level. Call it Paco Rabanne 2.0 if you want.

Just to explain the significance of 2.0 to non-geeks, a whole number as a suffix for a computer software means that it is a major release, and not just a patch to correct the bugs in the first release. Yes, it was based on the same idea of the original release, but the functionalities are different.

Again, taking that into fashion terms, the current movement of using unconventional materials in clothing can easily be called Paco Rabanne 2.0, but it is not a copy of the original design of the Paris-based designer. It is an entirely new take on the idea for the obvious reason that fashion had evolved during the past 40 years.

Still, the use of non-traditional materials as textile is just one of the elements of that characterizes the emergence of the new silhouette of menswear. It is also the incorporation of the new shapes and new color combinations.

And while the new color palette has been emerging during the past several seasons, the dalliance to new shapes had been tentative.

Perhaps, it is because everything is still in the experimental stage. Maybe, the current world economy is also affecting it like the very weak U.S. dollar against the euro and high gas prices. The new concern for global warming and awareness to become carbon neutral might also be affecting fashion more than we suspect.

Maybe, all of these items are in the mind of the fashion designers. After all, they are also citizens of the world, and they are influenced by the current socio-economic conditions like the rest of us.

Yet, even in the tentativeness in the approach to a new silhouette, there is already excitement building up and before the decade ends, we will be pleasantly greeted by a new one.

Photo by Lisa Helm

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