Take Rory-Parnell Mooney's AW16 collection: Dazed beautifully covered the show and how it was influenced by androgyny and Brian Molko of Placebo - utter poster boy for pure, naturalistic, unlaboured and uncontrived androgynous dressing. They even quizzed him backstage on why Molko became his muse for this collection with the designer stating, “There’s just something about the confidence with which he wears clothes. I mean he was walking round with bright red lipstick and a cropped mohair jumper, and it was just so easy. He wasn’t contrived or pretentious, it was just how he wanted to dress. There’s something so nice about that.”
And there is something nice about that. About people wearing what they want without being made feel bad about it, about being authentic, about ignoring silly ideas of what is appropriate on one body versus another. This authenticity reads. It's apparent. It made Molko a sex symbol that baffled some and delighted others.
Playing on ideas of androgyny is nothing new in fashion. Musicians dressing androgynously is nothing new. Musicians inspiring designers is nothing new.
What is new here is the essence of Molko's attitude towards dressing. It inspires the look of the clothes, yes, and his re-appropriation of a gay slur in the song, "Nancy Boy" is directly quoted and emblazoned proudly across some of Parnell-Mooney's garments, worn almost as a badge of pride. However, it's that naturalistic way about how he dressed that stands out, that innovates here.
Questioning gender roles and expectations in dress is often loud, experimental. But, while you probably won't be seeing the average Joe popping out to the shops in Parnell-Mooney's clothes, the way they address gender is quieter, more organic. "Masculine" and "feminine" come together seamlessly. It's not overtly contrived.
And then there's the clothes themselves. Can I have everything for me, please? The palette remains in monochrome and navy tones, the silhouettes are elongated but skim over the body in baggy trousers like those my generation knew all too well and boxy, smart jackets and shirts. Practical, weighty knits and key separates are show alongside silky tops and spangles: the practical, the frivolous: the male, the female. And it all comes together as naturally as a woman's wardrobe, as a modern human's personality - it's a melting pot of ideas and influences, needs and desires, moods and moments. This man is sometimes having a bad day, tired and unwilling to dress up, heading to an airport in a luxe hoody and baggy pants or feeling on fire and confident the next, hitting the town in sequins to meet friends for after work drinks. Sometimes he's somewhere between the two. He's a complex human being.
This paves the path for the future of dressing and makes me anxiously await what Parnell-Mooney has for us next.
What do you guys make of the collection?
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