The big news at Monse was men’s wear, though designers Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim wouldn’t quite admit that by showing about half of their looks on men that it was an official category launch. “We consider it unisex,” Garcia said backstage. They said they designed the collection for women but started playing with men’s in casting. “We said let’s have five boys,” said Garcia. “And we told them to keep sending more because the clothes looked decent on them.” It wasn’t that far-fetched. As Kim pointed out, Monse was born from deconstructing men’s wear.
The clothes, whether worn by a man or a woman, looked more than decent. It was a strong collection, thematically inspired by a raid on your rich grandmother’s closet, plus a lot of nautical stuff. Her tweeds were twisted, cut and pulled into jackets, tops and dresses that fell off the shoulder or cut away over wide leg cargo pants and chain-printed scarf dresses. Rugby tops, sweater and ponchos — all done in preppy stripes — also got the deconstructed treatment and looked equally plucky on the girls and the guys. Garcia and Kim do exaggerated proportions and choppy cuts with a sophisticated, never sloppy hand. Meanwhile, fluid dresses and tops hung from nautical rope halters to bare some flesh. They were modeled by women only, but if a man was so inclined…hey, it’s 2018, don’t let gender norms take the wind out of your sails.