Tuesday, February 3, 2009

these new young puritans

after all the talks of the return to traditional notions of beauty, a debate that was strongly supported by the last womenswear collections and the resulting ad campaigns that followed which bet its multi-million dollar budgets on iconic supermodels of the past and a handful of classic looking new girls in order to appeal a wider range of audiences, the recent european menswear collections surprisingly became the launchpad for some of the freshest faces and the ones that have been hovering under the radar for the past few seasons in the male modeling world. granted that the top perennials such as mathias lauridsen, taylor fuchs, and clement chabernaud still gained the highest runway mileage, the recent fall/winter 2009 collection really belonged to a new batch of boys that is slowly redefining a youthful masculinity that for almost a decade has been stuck on the aesthetic hedi slimane perpetuated at dior homme. while these new crop of models are by no means rippling biceps and washboard abs, they don't exude a fragility nor any sense of androgyny yet still retaining a purity and childlike naiveté. trying not to use the dirty "r" word again, but in these times designers need to project a sense of inner strength, and let's face it, as foolish as youth can be, it is also the time that saw us at our bravest. in a season when it seemed like it was all about warriors ready for battle be it in a sharp grey suit at prada, a boxer in mcqueen, or as the first black president of the united states in lanvin, the virility and beauty of youth is a powerful symbol that designers have used to fully realize their vision time and time again. their faces don't look exhausted, nor does it carry a poised nonchalance, just the pure and determined look of a young man ready to make his mark in the world in all its wide eyed wonder and with the optimism that only belongs to the young.

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