A month before Lil Wayne shoved his knick knacks into leopard print jeggings, and a month after Kanye slipped into a silky Celine top at Coachella, Danish designer Astrid Andersen presented her menswear Spring/Summer 2012 collection in one of the most manly venues imaginable -- an ordinary gym.
Located in a sleepy urban stretch between Copenhagen city center and the uber-cool Norrebro neighborhood, I’d have walked right by it if it weren’t for the similarly confused group of fashion bloggers waiting out front. After a short wait on the pavement, we’re herded into a room so dark and crowded that folks are knocking their shins on exercise equipment as we make our way towards the main room.
Double doors open to reveal a string quartet and about a dozen gods-among-men on weight machines. They’re wearing exercise gear trimmed with typically feminine accents -- from pink lace to pulled purple mink.
The contrast created by muscles straining against the most delicate of materials is fiercely sensual, and a bit forbidden. The models alternately pose, execute bicep curls, and bench press, as buyers, editors and press move among them. Everyone’s blushing, whispering, taking a few too many photos, and fanning themselves with open palms, thinking the same thing: “DAMN!”
Hotness aside, I have questions. I find an impeccably dressed brunette holding a cell phone and a clipboard. She’s Andersen’s public relations go-to gal. I want to know if these men, ranging from pedestrian to film-star fine, are all real models.
“Some of them are actual models,” she answers, “but Astrid street-casted most. We needed REAL men for this collection to work. We found them all around Copenhagen -- on the corner and in gyms like this one.” A petite, tomboyish blonde approaches. It’s Andersen, herself. “This is the best effing thing I’ve seen all week!” I gush. Andersen blushes and thanks me kindly, before whisking her PR off for a powwow. They say “Clothes make the man,' I thought, as I did another lap around the gym. But isn’t it the man who makes clothes?
Designers like Astrid Andersen are no more interested in untangling this masculine/feminine fashion web than Weezy or Yeezy.
What do you think, fellas? Are you man enough to wear lace?