If I had a dime for every time I read “masculinity meets femininity”, or something to that effect, I would be aboard a Sunseeker yacht, cruising along the French Riviera. It’s become a trope in fashion show press releases—everyone is interested in the conversation between masculinity and femininity and how the two relate to one another, how one can be informed by the other. German-born, London-based Markus Lupfer, who presented his Fall 2017 show at the Blue Fin Building in Southwark, is the latest designer to join the bandwagon. His recent collection spoke about borrowing menswear styling tricks, adding pieces from a man’s wardrobe to enliven one’s outfit.
Lupfer, for all intents and purposes, is a high-end trend translator in the way Topshop or H&M are low-end translators. His function in the industry is to dilute the currents trends and present them to the customer in their simplest form. Here, Lupfer simplifies the conversation around gender and the wider cultural shift to accept gender ambiguity—albeit his way is conventionally, distinctly feminine. It possibly began with J.W. Anderson’s pioneering Fall 2013 menswear show where he displayed a perverse vision of masculinity; at the time, the show was slated but four years later and the discussion is ever-evolving. Evolution is intrinsic to the narrative. The primary question that should be asked about Lupfer’s collection is did it, in any way, advance the dialogue? Perhaps the designer missed the mark on that one but the menswear-inspired pieces were smashing efforts. The form and fit of his check suiting, the innate functionality and effortless cool of bomber jackets—undeniably, they were beautiful items of clothing.
To extend the collection, and his vision of the city-slicker, Lupfer introduced sportswear… or would it be best labelled as athleisure, the thrilling outdated concept that continually inspires. Metallic tracksuit pants were styled with tracksuit pants, interestingly. It was a heightened version of reality. Generally, on the bus or underground, one is exposed to black or navy tight-wearing commuters but the fancy take on the commonality of sportswear in a daily wardrobe. Furthermore, Lupfer explored the stylistic concept of layers. A smattering of print, a melange of fabrics, his looks were a melting pot of texture.
It isn’t necessary for Markus Lupfer’s clothes to be swathed in dense layers of subtext—strikingly, they speak for themselves; although they may not be groundbreaking or assisting in a fashion revolution, they have razor-sharp clarity of expression and there’s a lot to be said for that.