Continuing exploration of the gender boundaries, Leonid Alexeev again channels fragility of hypermasculinity in a volatile environment. For spring-summer 2012 the designer was inspired by the juxtaposition of kidswear and military uniforms, particularly iconic images of JFK Junior as a child. Prep-school groomed young men zigzagged through the triumph arches to Trancegender mix by Pictureplane. Seasonal staples of shorts and shirts made up the bulk of the collection, but silicone-enhanced cotton and refined suede exposed the illusion of strength. There are no ceasefires in culture wars.
Alexeev cleverly uses neon tiger print as pop symbol of the Vietnam fiasco impact on the 1960s American cultural landscape. Waterproof tent cloaks were a stylistic gamble, but animal prints on lining (leopard, zebra, tiger) highlighted exoticism of sought-after danger. Cotton restraints for belts evoke medical unit bandages. Excellent skirts appear not as trend-astute unisexization but as primalwear of the urban warrior. Psychedelic prints seemed superfluous, utilized merely as decade’s primary visual signifier void of otherwise sharp conceptual zeitgeist. Other collection highlights include cotton mesh as hauberks and jackets with parachute straps leather inserts. White socks and formal shoes grounded all looks in classic menswear tradition.
It was a great collection with two geo-social caveats. To imagine Russian men outfitting en masse a la Alexeev might take a cultural revolution of the hippy magnitude. Also, anyone over a certain low age median could be hard-pressed to pull off these bold looks. Perhaps battleworn heroes don’t live that long. But for the iGeneration it-persons from the global trendsetting Meccas… Alexeev fashion supplies are totally worth the shipping charges from Russia.
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