If you looked at the skeletons they were kicking down the aisle at New York Fashion Week this week (well, except for the edgy designers like Andrew Buckler who opted for the odd redhead, tattooed average bodied freak and Brooklyn bricklayer with nice eyes) you’d think that gender based branding and design had caved in on itself and we were on our way back to the bisexual, unisex, depressed, Marlborough Lights thin nineties.
All the girls and boys really were stick thin. Astonishingly so.
But the implosion hasn’t quite happened completely yet because Tom Ford is releasing his first fragrance for men and Calvin Klein are adding to their stable of fragrances aimed at men and the advertising is suddenly anything but waifish and vague about gender.
If you go to the Tom Ford website you’re basically slammed in the face with heavily oiled female flesh. The bottle is smack back in the middle of the model’s legs. That’s great and all and I noticed it because it’s probably the most overt thing that’s happened in fashion imagery since that French fashion line launched their online ads last year that included a gay couple, a straight couple and a lesbian couple having sex (in different rooms) and you could click on the items they were progressively not wearing and find out how much they were – that’s if you noticed them at all. The thing is, this seems so forcibly glam and gutter level porno and who the hell wants to buy a fragrance which is marketed as being something that emanated from a vagina? Oh, wait. Yeah, let’s not think about that until after dinner.
Actually, no gay man is going to buy this unless they're a hard core poser and no straight woman is going to buy it for her husband. Who is buying this product? The Metrosexuals? There are like 40 of them.
Calvin Klein’s new fragrance, MEN (wow, what a knockout title – he’s so heterosexual!), is stamped with some good old 80s referencing muscle advertisements too – not so eye popping and visceral as Tom Ford – as in you’ll keep your lunch down when you look at it - but they’re a stern departure from their recent hyper researched Williamsburg, NY -centric fragrant IN2U – which was aimed at apparently edgy ironic hipster nerds who spend time online and therefore have a thirty second attention span. Quite a 180 degree turn. From hyper aware, thin and “alternate” to broad shouldered, built, alpha and glistening.
Good old fragrances. They tell us more than we ever asked or wanted to know. [source] [source]