Date: Jan 15 – 18, 2011

Quo Vadis

MILAN, Jan 15, 2011 / FW/ — On the way to Milan, I was reading Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of the Wind,” a fantasy novel about a young boy of 15 learning magic in a university.

Set in “The Four Corners of Civilization”, a world that was imagined by the author, the locale is reminiscent of Medieval Europe. That said, it is also noteworthy to mention that the male characters in the novel have a tendency to dress like European men during the Middle Ages and/or the Renaissance.

Or do they? Was it my mind’s eye that actually put the details on Patrick Rothfuss’ description of how Kvothe (the main character) and his friends dress? Or, has men’s clothing have not really changed much in the past 1000 years?

Ah, I opened a can of worms. I can already hear the objections; journalists, designers including budding fashionistas, even historians protesting to my claim. And, quite frankly, even I cannot believe that I said that.

Yet, season after season, I see that inspirations for men’s clothing are mostly historical. And yes, there are also designers whose muses are more futuristic, like the late Alexander McQueen being inspired by the virtual world/Second Life one season.

I cannot give statistics because I have none to give. This is a casual observation of the past 5 years that I have been covering menswear.

Before I get hate mail, I also want to say that this is not a complaint, nor saying that menswear is going nowhere. What I really want to say is how much history affects how we dress; that thousands of years may pass but a piece of history lives on through clothing.

And though we may forget something, a designer will see it then bring it back. That is the beauty of it all – we don’t lose anything. We might misplace it, but we find it again.


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