THE BOULEVARDIER: Cloaked in art at Nuit Blanche

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: What to wear to Nuit Blanche. Hint: Take a cue from Ann Demeulemeester (left) and John Galliano.

White Night—the words alone conjure up a myriad of images. I’m transported to Paris, to St. Petersburg’s street theatre, to Rio de Janeiro, watching the waterfalls of fireworks on New Years Eve. It brings to mind ideas of beauty, worldliness, and art. At Nuit Blanche, our town, Hogtown, really shows off its place as a centre of arts and culture in the world.

We’re not provincial; we’re not a wannabe New York. I’ll say it: We’re on the cutting edge, avant-garde, if you will. A good friend of mine, an art curator, is flying back from Europe just for the night. Now, I’m not qualified to tell you which installations/pieces/works/events/happenings you should see—there is a website for that. In fact, don’t bother, just get outside and roam!

The question then becomes what to wear.

Guaranteed, the weather will be inclement: Rain, the threat of rain, wind, the threat of wind, muddy, with a distinct chance of chill in the air. (I pray I’m wrong.) In keeping with fashion’s current trend towards Edwardian-Victorian-Prussian-military-neo-retro-post-pre-punk meets Clockwork Orange, I’m thinking that the cape or cloak is the way to go.

I would say that the best-designed example of this sartorial flourish comes from right here at home.

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THE BOULEVARDIER: Flirts in skirts

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Why men in skirts are totally hot. (See Marc Jacobs, above.)

OK, I swear this is the last one. Really, I promise. No more of this tangent I’ve been on. As a friend of mine recently wrote on Facebook: “After the mensire, the murse, now the mirt?” Yes, it’s time to drag out that ol’ chestnut, the male skirt. Why? Have you been in the city for the last month? The heat, ya lummox!

I’m going to strongly advocate that the skirt is the best male garment for three distinct reasons.

1. IMAGE. This summer’s heat reminds me of a wonderful commercial from the late ’70s or early ’80s for York Peppermint Patties. It starts with a POV of an opening elevator door, then zoom through the first two figures to the bored face of a young “office girl.” She lifts a York peppermint patty to her lips and slowly takes a bite. Cue the sound of breeze; her hair beings to billow. She says: “When I eat a York peppermint patty, I feel the cool wind blowing through the forest and racing up my legs and …” Pull away to the whole elevator, and we see the others edging away from her as she begins to reach an ecstatic moment of consuming. Gale force winds ensue and she is rapt in the refreshing coolness of the chocolate. Needless to say, her skirt is being blown out of control.

Now I realize that I’m completely crazy to have this image in my head but that’s what I picture when I think of donning a skirt. All my over-heatedness would magically disappear. (I live in a special place.)

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THE BOULEVARDIER: Hearts and smiles

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: A case for why the smiley face trumps the heart. (Even that cute Comme des Garçons one above.)

I’m just going to come out and say it: I loathe graphics on T-shirts. OK, perhaps that’s too strong, I really, really don’t like T-shirts with graphics, words, or ads for some product that I don’t consume—especially when I don’t recall receiving a royalty cheque for the “space” that is my chest.

But then, as a society of consumers, we give the world a lot of free ad space. I have an iPhone, which is shorthand for “Look at me, I’m a ‘creative’ type. Buy one if you want to be creative.” The same goes for a Blackberry—”I’m a business type etc.”

I do love images, though, and the meanings that they convey. When I was growing up, the image that I remember most was the smiley face, that simple sunshine-yellow circle and line drawing smile. Thanks to Wikipedia I know this: “The iconic smiley face, with the black ink smile and two oval dots for eyes…was created by freelance artist Harvey R. Ball in 1963 in an advertising campaign by The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts.” Neither Ball nor the company copyrighted it, so it’s one of the few images of happiness that’s actually free. I seem to recall hearing that somewhere—that smiles are free.

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THE BOULEVARDIER: G20 style, in photos

If fashion makes a statement about who you are and what you believe, then what to wear to a protest? How does what you wear matter, and how does it set you apart? Do clothes tell people what side you’re on? (And should you coordinate your sign with your shoes?) Over the next few days, Marq Frerichs, The Boulevardier columnist, will be considering the politics of style at the G20.

Looking to show your support without the crowds, the jostling, the police? Pick up a T-shirt at Green Shag (above), arbiters of stylish tongue and cheek.

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