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Hot New Trend in Men’s Fashion: The Visible Penis

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Rick Owens

For those who thought that they have seen it all, that you have been exposed to the complete spectrum of human idiocy, sillyness and stupidity, then  think again. It takes rather a lot to raise the eyebrows of the fashion press; baring in mind they’ve seen it all – quite literally. That was until yesterday’s Rick Owens show.  [15] According to many critics, the absolute highlight of this season’s menswear shows during Paris Fashion Week was beyond the shadow of a doubt the Rick Owens fall/winter 2015 collection.  At least it was considered a “highlight” for those who “love dicks,” writes William Van Meter, in a review of the Owens show for The Cut. [1] [11] He stated ironically that “2015 is shaping up to be about the bulge in fashion land.” [11] The designer is known for being a little “out there” when it comes to his runway shows. [10] Vice described Rick Owen as “fashion’s dark prince, master of the deconstructed geometric cut,” [2] a man who “has perfected the art of merging shock value with innovative ideas in clothing.” [2] Presenting his new collection, after a series of “conventional” menswear looks — and that’s conventional by Owens’ grunge rock-alypse sportswear aesthetic, at least — the collection then slided toward rampant voyeurism and exposed peens akimbo. [1]  According to the Daily Mail, the front row may have been the worst place to be at Rick Owens’ Paris menswear show. [12] The male models were dressed in what could only be described as a peehole poncho. Drapey material with groin holes and crotch cutouts to expose everything you never wanted or needed to see. [7] The Huffington Post has coined the garments “Penis Cloaks” [14] while UsWeekly said he “literally went balls to the wall in pushing the envelope”. [7] According to the Independent, Owens was inspired by a French movie set in a submarine, which might be why he included those holes in the clothes. (Periscope-inspired, perhaps?) [15] “As the audience gradually realized that a taboo was being broken in front of their eyes, whispers and occasional giggles rippled down the front row like a Mexican wave,” The Guardian reported. [17] “It was a move which earned him the Instagram hashtag: #dickowens.” [16] [17] What was The Guardian’s headline? “Penises on the fashion catwalk: A flesh flash too far?” [17] In the world of fashion, female models routinely flash bare body parts that normally go clothed. That’s not the practice during men’s fashion shows and could explain why many attending Owen’s wondered at first if what they were seeing “were merely accidental dick-slips,” as GQ’s reviewer commented. By the end, he realized that the jewels on display were no accident. [16] You had to look closely […] because many of the cocks were only visible through little strategically placed hidey holes in the crotch region. [3] William Van Meter from The Cut,  went on to describe it as a sort of religious experience:

Then a kind of religious tribal element seeped in with shiftlike robes, some dangling with fluttering materials reminiscent of wind chimes. Some of them had an arched peephole opening revealing the model’s manhood. This actually heightened the religiosity aspect. It wasn’t done in bad taste, but it was mysterious, like sending out bold fertility gods. [1] [11]

disck  Hot New Trend in Men’s Fashion: The Visible Penis disckOh! It was spiritual…? Because if we look at it without that pseudo-religious, phallus-worshipping context, it’s like an extra neckline or collar stitched in the monastic-style garments. [1]  Van Meter says he spotted three penises total; a close analysis of the zoom function on photos of the collection in The Cut‘s runway gallery reveals what looks like a wrinkly testicle or two in look #17, a real missed opportunity in both looks #21 and #22, and a hole in look #15, among others, that unfortunately falls an inch or two below where a penis would/should be dangling if it weren’t busy elsewhere, or, you know, just feeling shy and shriveled. [1] [11] Crotch-level holes in the chunky knit onesies in looks #9 and #10 also revealed sad brown underwear, perhaps because all those wooly fibers would have made the models’ balls itch too much backstage.  [1] [11] Oh, and the penises “flopped,” Van Meter writes — though that’s a description presumably of their motion on the runway, not of their stature. [11]  Apparently, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment mid-way through the show – and the three exposed penises ‘weren’t the point of the show’ according to Van Meter. [6] [12] Fashion blogger Susie Bubble was also unfazed. She told Dazed And Confused: ‘I liked that you hardly noticed it. It wasn’t nudity for the sake of nudity. I honestly didn’t see until somebody pointed out the d*** flaps and the undie holes.’ [6] [13] Hours later, retailers and editors were more bemused than outraged at the sightings of the models’ dangly bits. “I thought it was brave, particularly in a winter season,” offered Andrew Keith, president of Lane Crawford and Joyce. [9] Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus, was equally nonplussed. “I’m much like a doctor. When you work in fashion, you see everything. It was just unexpected,” he said. [9] On social media, all manner of penis parlance was employed: “Rick Owens went balls-out,” GQ magazine trumpeted. “It looks like the groin is in,” New York Observer opined. “Hot new trend in men’s fashion: visible penis,” Cosmopolitan cheered, while adding a pun-laced warning: “The following media may contain sensitive material.” [9] Gert Jonkers, co-creator of Fantastic Man and the now-defunct gay magazine Butt, was all “shucks” when told of the spectacle, which he missed due to the late arrival of his train in the French capital. Shown a snap on an iPhone, he replied: “I think it’s very nice. I wish I’d seen it.” [9] Butt, which ceased publication in 2008, famously depicted fashion folk in their birthday suits, including Bernhard Willhelm, and Jonkers continues to applaud show-off behavior: “I think shame is so boring, so it’s good if people flaunt it.” [9] You could never accuse Owens of being a prude—remember the animal-skin cock ring he sold in his New York store? Eroticism is a theme he indulges often, normally with subtlety and sophistication (note his body-centric cut) and always in an effort to disrupt the status quo. [2]

[1] Alex Rees, Hot New Trend in Men’s Fashion: Visible Penis (NSFW), Cosmopolitan, Jan 22, 2015 @ 1:08 PM
[3] Leslie Horn, The Hottest Fashion Trend For 2015 Is Underdick (NSFW), The Concourse, January 21 2015
[4] Beejoli Shah, The Hottest New Trend In Menswear Is Visible Dick, The Frisky, January 22, 2015
[5] Julie Gerstein, The Latest Cool Fashion Trend Is Letting Your Penis Hang Out, BuzzFeed, Jan. 22, 2015, at 3:24 p.m.
[7] Alison Stephenson, Male models walk runway with penises exposed during Rick Owens’ Paris Fashion Week show, News.com.au, January 23, 2015 3:03PM
[8] Marie Poussel, Rick Owens fait défiler ses mannequins le sexe dénudé, La Parisienne, 23 Janv. 2015
[9] Miles Socha, Free Willy: Retailers and Internet Reacts to Rick Owens, WWD, January 23, 2015
[11] William Van Meter, Full-Frontal Male Nudity at the Rick Owens Show, The Cut, January 22, 2015 10:50 a.m.
[13] Thomas Gorton, Models bare their penises at Rick Owens, Dazed, January 22 2015
[14] Jamie Feldman and Julee Wilson, 5 Places It’s OK To Wear Rick Owens’ New Penis Cloaks (VERY NSFW), The Huffington Post, 01/22/2015 5:24 pm EST
[15] Emma Akbareian, Rick Owens puts penises on show at Paris Fashion Week show, The Independent, Friday 23 January 2015
[17] Hannah Marriott, Penises on the fashion catwalk – a flesh flash too far?, The Guardian, Thursday 22 January 2015 17.38 GMT

About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

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