THE BOULEVARDIER: If you’ve got it, hide it

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Covering up is sexier than stripping off, as inspired by the “salivating” reaction to the male models at the Ezra Constantine Spring 2011 show.

Call me old-fashioned but when I was working as a stylist the sexiest thing was what you weren’t seeing. I know—I’m out of touch. I should be more with it.

But you must understand that, as a former professional dancer, I’ve spent the majority of my life surrounded by semi-nude and wispy ballerinas and models. There is nothing that I know of that can kill the visual allure of someone than the string of curses heard during a quick change backstage.

In one show, I had six changes, three of which were back to back. That meant a sauté off the stage right into a unitard, slippers and mask, then stripping down and changing into a full-body flying harness, with tuxedo over that, all topped off with an Elvis wig. I was clipped in and flown straight up three stories, then lowered back down, stripped down again and wriggled back into the same unitard, slippers and mask. Did I mention that dancers perspire?

Needless to say, I sounded like a trucker and I had to buy drinks for our dresser after each show. I’ve worked on a few fashion shows, and it’s the same. Dancers or models—what you see is so not what you get.

Where am I going with all of this? Objectification, that’s where. Last time I checked, men and women were not objects.

Last week, I was at the Ezra Constantine Spring 2011 show. Let me state flat-out I think that the design duo is brilliant, but writing a review of the line wasn’t what really piqued my interest. It was the visceral reaction to the male models.  When I was there, there were five men standing over a pool wearing the shiny trunks that are part of the swimwear line. A pack of editors and PR types watched them, salivating. I checked my Twitter feed, and there were pictures of the event (as in skin-pics) and promises of acts yet to be undertaken. Dog days of summer, for reals.

As I’m sure you know, the “House of Victoria’s Secret” has its Toronto debut this week. If you want, you can gawk to your heart’s content, even get an autograph, this Thursday at 9 a.m. at Yorkdale mall.

Is this where fashion is going? Younger and younger men with twelve packs, women wearing next to nothing? I find myself yearning for organza and crepe, which alludes to the curve of the hip and breast. A silk scarf that teases me with the nape of a neck. Worsted wool, that speaks to the strong shoulder under the jacket. I don’t find it necessary to see it all, when my imagination is so powerful. And if you asked me if I thought your dress is hot? My answer: it’s really hot on my bedroom floor.

Read more from Marq here, and follow him on Twitter: @aboulevardier

Check out our interview with Stephen Wong, one of the designers of Ezra Constantine.

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