Katie Eary Spring 2017 Menswear on Bessd

Katie Eary Spring 2017 Menswear

Bad taste is a tough sell in fashion, because generally people want to buy good taste. Even if the taste they think is good is actually bad. It’s a game of perception, and it’s entirely subjective.

There will surely be takers for the taste Katie Eary offered for Spring 2017: They didn’t vary too much from the clothes she offers season in and out. Here, she knowingly referenced what she dubbed “working-class, market town weekend finery,” a stylistic strain that on paper sounds quintessentially British but, in person, can be recognized the world over. In Italy, it’s what the flashy guys, dubbed ragazzi, are wearing; in the U.K., we often use the term chav.

Eary’s men wore their hair heavily greased (the pomade, in a few instances, was ladled on so thick it was more readily visible than the actual hair), their limp shirts wide open, and their faces subtly, cosmetically contoured, conforming precisely to stereotype.

The result was eye-catching. Eary plastered her silks with hammerhead sharks and barracudas in garish colors, with stars and ’70s-style blocking, and topped one with a swaggering but sweltering Mongolian lamb–trimmed coat that seemed seasonally unsuitable. A clutch of female models did Elvira Hancock duty in slip dresses and swimsuits.

You weren’t sure if the intention was to champion or caricature these working-class 21st-century stock characters. Either way, the collection felt like it missed on the fundamental level of a fashion show, which is to produce desirable clothing that connects with the aesthetic conversation of the current moment. But maybe it just wasn’t to my taste.

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