Repeated displays of traditional masculinity have made New York Fashion Week: Men's a bore; designers overwhelmingly favor the safety of classic masc silhouettes over deeper exploration into the vast potentials of menswear. Fall '17 saw no real shift, featuring collections that flaunted archetypal male sex appeal and disregarded any relevant conversations surrounding gender fluidity.
NYFWM's biggest breakout, Palomo Spain, was an exception to the norm, as Spanish designer Alejandro Gomez Palomo used his rising non-binary brand to prove that femininity has a rightful place in menswear. Transforming Manhattan's Cadillac House into a "sibylline garden of sex," the London College of Fashion alumnus presented playful looks that showed how menswear isn't always underlined with a tough, hard-edge—it can be soft, romantic and in some cases, recall playing dress-up as a kid.
Designers' fear of taking risks is in large part due to consumers still shopping within a gendered system, having grown inside a world where retail is physically divided by men's and women's sections—sometimes on completely different floors. For Palomo, who's favorited by everyone from Troye Sivan to Hari Nef, separatism is dismantled by designing silhouettes with disregard to gender altogether. The brand's newly launched e-boutique follows this same mission, presenting Palomo's whimsical looks on both femme and masc bodies, side-by-side.
The available pieces echo Palomo's Shakespearean aesthetic, with vintage-inspired florals, peplums, bishop sleeves and a general preference for fantasy. His frill-forward approach looks as if it's pulled from a storybook, finding ways to elevate old-world Elizabethan silhouettes through smart, contemporary edits. Key looks include two jacket and pant sets—one in cherry red and the other in forest green—and a belted safari jacket with voluminous sleeves and structured lapels. Palomo also introduced an evening-to-daytime loungewear look, with satin lilac pants and a matching robe-like gown.
"I project what I desire and then I bring it to my own universe," Palomo told Vogue, speaking to his dramatic, couture-inspired brand identity. "Like 'Let's take it to a different level and fantasize a bit more in the way they dress." By using materials traditionally saved for womenswear—silk organzas, velvet and lace—the very root of Palomo's production has feminine appeal. "I feel that boys need to discover ways to wear clothes that we haven't been able to wear up until now."
Indulge in Palomo Spain's dreamy queer online store, here.