Monday, October 6, 2008

Runway - Obedient Sons: Fall 2008

When viewing the Obedient Sons show, it seemed like the designers were really producing nothing new, yet, it also seemed as though what they had created is fundamentally different from everything else this season. This is a dichotomy that many men may wish to achieve (standing out while really not putting yourself too far out there). So what are the exact elements used in this line that allow the ensembles to blend as nothing abnormal, yet still extraordinary?

First, it starts with the fit. In each ensemble shown, most of the elements feature a fairly typical fit while one or two pieces appear either over or undersized. The exaggerated elements (such as a coat or shorts) will set you apart, while having pieces that stick with the standard provide you with a basis in reality. This is distinctly different from more traditionally avant-garde lines, take for instance Yohji Yamamoto, which may exaggerate the fit of every piece in an ensemble.

Second, it’s about detailing. Overall, there is a slight minimalist view going on. Any details that are maintained within this minimalism are skewed just slightly. Note a distortion in the necklines, hat shapes, glove fits and pant cuffing. None of these changes are particularly breath taking or attention grabbing, yet appear different.

Third, color is an important element. Notice how there appears to be little contrast. Even though colors do vary within each outfit, differences in value are kept to a minimum or are downplayed through texture and shadows.

Lastly, material quality is important. The slight minimalism, described above, creates large and uninterrupted planes of fabric. This allows for a canvas to display unusual sheens and unexpectedly weighty materials that allow ordinary menswear pieces to be seen in a new light.

Although “standing out without really standing out” may seem a bit passive for many trailblazers of men’s fashion, it can be a beacon for many men wishing for a chance to express themselves while not necessarily alienating themselves from the lager population. Thus, even if lines like Obedient Sons may seem to do little for the history and progress of menswear, they do provide a needed and safe outlet for many guys.

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