Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Oscar Humphries' take on metrosexual fashion

Oscar Humphries, gormless posh gadabout and son of Barry "Dame Edna" Humphries, has recently returned to London with his tail between his legs after an unsuccessful attempt to become the Kate Moss of the Antipodes. Last year, young Oscar had a really unfortunate column in News Ltd's Sunday Magazine about his raffish adventures at premieres, nightclub openings, etc. Now he's offering his sage fashion advice to readers of The Telegraph (UK).

Oscar has a very preppie, almost feminine style, but I'm not sure whether it's a Sloaney kind of street chic that's attractive, attainable and wearable, Sienna Miller-style (and Sienna isn't particularly original in her boho style - indeed, Penny quite accurately calls her "a photocopy of Kate Moss"), or whether it's a kind of personal sartorial vision that Oscar merely wants everyone to wear. Anyway, Oscar has an interesting spin on metrosexual style.

In Melbourne at the moment, metrosexual style encapsulates a tension between butch and femme signifiers. You've got butch roughed-up clothes in pretty pastel colours; distressed workwear-style jeans and visible t-shirt seams, as if put on inside-out straight from the bedroom floor, but with delicate embroidering; butch leather accessories with shiny, groomed hair and dainty sneakers that are almost like slippers.

But Oscar seems to be pure femme - he's seriously advocating that men wear velvet jackets, women's brooches and Pucci-style silk scarves. My first impulse was hysterical laughter, particularly when I saw this dashing picture:

This is such a literal interpretation of the watered-down careless luxe that's all the rage for women this season (which I have commented on extensively) that it's funny on a man. But it makes me wonder how much longer Australian men will continue wearing their polo shirts with turned-up collars, distressed t-shirts, untucked printed shirts and designer jeans. The traditional understanding of men's fashion is that its cycles are much longer and changes more subtle than women's fashion. But these trends seem to have been around for years - I remember noticing the first appliqued Roy t-shirts around 2000.

Perhaps Oscar is pointing the way.


Graham said...

Hang on to your clothes they'll be back in fashion in 10 years.

Antony Levine said...'re right. The cycle for fashion is about 10 years. Denim jackets are coming back now. Geez!