A few days in Rome...or Milan, or any other major Italian city and you will see how Italy is tops in the men's fashion world. Sure, the French have their designers, as do the Brits, Japanese, Americans and so on, so forth. But in terms of consumers, this is the place.
In most cultures, I think there is a sort of prejudice towards men who take care of how they look. I flash back on the little comment the DogFather made after he watched Big Dog spend a few too many minutes trimming his nails -- a far too recent thing given that he's been a lifelong nail-biter. Something like, wow, you're spending a lot of time on your nails. A simple comment that was filled with irony, embarrassment, maybe a little disdain.
Real men aren't supposed to spend TOO much time on their looks. Sure, you want your shoes polished, your hair slicked back with Brill Cream or the salve of the moment, your pits protected from too much BO, your mouth protected from BB (has that become part of the lingo yet? it should.) More than that is...well, either narcissistic or effeminate. Never mind that I am so proud of Big Dog for having been able to conquer his nail biting after FIVE DECADES.
None of that sort of prejudice seems to have permeated the psyche of Italian men. They are free to primp and gussy. Make themselves as tidy, stylish, attractive as they can.
That old man in a suit that no longer fits his shrunken body, still has impeccable footwear. The young peacock struts in his Armani.
Elsewhere, designers create clothes that are seldom worn or even noticed by their countrymen. Only a handful of Japanese men even know who Yoji Yamamoto is, let alone what his current collection looks like. Newer designers like Mihara? Fuggedabawtit! Is it the same in the UK, home of some top notch menswear designers? Do American designers envy Dolce and Gabbana?
From a woman's point of view, I suppose it's just a matter of taste. Some women like sweaty guys in baggy jeans. There are probably women out there who find plumber's cracks the height of masculinity.
I'm not saying I want my guy to be a fashion hog but I do feel that taking care of your nails is going in the right direction. And if I were a menswear designer, I know I'd be happiest in a world filled with Italian men.
|Those Ancient Romans weren't too shabby, either.|
|A merman suit might be fun, too.|
Labels: Italy, on-the-road