I can remember reading my first fashion magazine many years ago. The one thing that still stands out in my mind is a picture of a man wearing a plastic, transparent trench. I know, I know… a half naked man wearing a see-through coat, it’s going to stand out in anyone’s mind. The spread was a piece on the year 2000 and how the world would explode and we would all turn into futuristic aliens wearing see through clothes. Unfortunately nothing really happened when we hit 01/01/00, apart from maybe a few confused microwaves. That is until now, are we in the future we foresaw 10 years ago?
2009 saw John Galliano put women in ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ style garments, with strips of transparency breaking up block coloured fabrics. This season not only has the trend progressed into bundles of see through-ness, it seems to have filtered down into every other high street store. Unfortunately progression isn’t always a good thing as some of the ‘lets say cheaper’ takes on the trend translate as see through, lace cat suits. Not what you want to see in the Kebab shop at 5.30 in the morning.
The good news is that the trend has now passed over to menswear so we can show the ladies how it’s done. I joke ladies, I joke. Thankfully I haven’t seen a single transparent, lace boiler suit doing the rounds in any bustling builders’ yard. Phew! Nor have I seen any 70s mesh underwear revivals. What I have seen is beautifully crafted and quite tasteful ensembles.
When I saw the Christopher Raeburn collection at LFW I was in complete awe of it: everything crafted from redeployed military fabrics to create fantastic transparent hoodies and bomber jackets, which were slightly avant-garde but equally wearable.
Raf Simons produced a literal take on the trend using completely invisible fabric doused with clean lined patterns. The effect is quite incredible, however not a look for a casual occasion:
Calvin Klein formed an entourage of partially transparent suits in keeping with his nautical gentleman look, but perhaps with slightly more of that ‘gentleman’ on display. When I think of Calvin Klein I see men with bodies cast from steel wearing nothing but tighty whities, naturally it makes sense to wear a translucent suit over that! Maybe that’s the whole see-through trench scenario again *ahem*:
Tim Hamilton, on the other hand, took the opposite route to CK, bringing a look I would describe as ‘Feral boys from the planet plastic’ with long, wet look hooded shirts and jackets worn with drop crotch trousers or micro shorts.
John Varvatos and Kris Van Assche both had a similar approach by using light jersey and fine mesh fabrics rather than a futuristic, plastic look. I think their faintly transparent, zipped jumpers and Tees would look great over a shirt and tie. Rick Owens also used a mesh like jersey creating tees with invisible patches and transparent black jumpers with dark piping. He teamed them with skirts, leather jackets and big military boots, all bound in his signature A-symmetrical shapes and silhouettes.
I’m all over this trend at the moment and I have noticed it’s already filtering down into mainstream stores. I spotted a jumper in Topman with transparent and cashmere stripes and have seen endless streams of guys wearing the Christopher Raeburn transparent hoodie which I absolutely adore.
Strangely enough I was digging through my overly sized T-shirt collection and found an old Blue Tee with faint transparent strips – maybe that’ll go back into the wearable pile.