Penises Get the High-Fashion Treatment in Vivienne Westwood's Norm-Shattering Show
On Sunday, at Vivienne Westwood's show at Men's Fashion Week in Milan, male models glided down the runway in metallics, loud prints and brogues. But some of the lucky few earned a more noticeable accessory.
Of course you do. During the showcase of in-your-face fashion, in typical Westwood fashion, the 74-year-old designer sent some of the models out wearing penis necklaces.
Someone please get Rihanna's stylist on the phone immediately.
Crafted from what appears to be heavy metal, the phalluses hung on the necks of male models wearing typically womenswear styles like dresses, painted nails, purses, bright makeup and heeled platform shoes.
To jog your memory a bit, this isn't the first time penises have taken center stage at a fashion show. In January 2015, models walked down the runway for designer Rick Owens in garments with either holes directly over the genitals or dresses cut so high that their peckers played peek-a-boo.
As the Cut reported at the time, "There were about three penises visible and flopping around, surely to be blurred for the various slideshows."
(Editor's note: NSFW image below)
While the Owens show seemed to be played for total shock value, Westwood's necklaces seemed to make a point. While the male models wore the ultimate signal for masculinity around their necks, their clothing freely rejected gender norms, with flowing dresses, shiny blouses and makeup favored over structured "menswear" clothes.
By striking that contrast, Westwood's show fit right into the larger trend of rejecting masculine fashion standards, something men are embracing on and even off the runway (at least, fashion-forward men like Kanye West and Jaden Smith). As 22-year-old stylist and Kanye pal Ian Connor put it in a recent interview, "N*ggas want to wear womenswear clothes. Ain't nothing wrong with that!"
Westwood's show on Sunday also aimed to make a political statement about climate change, a passionate cause of hers. In September, Westwood hosted a climate change protest at her fashion show, and she has spoken out about anti-terror, fracking and just about every other social concern in recent history. The title of this show was "Be Specific," which the designer explained in a video message released prior to the show:
Be specific: Save Venice, stop the cruise ships. Be specific: Save the rainforest, cool Earth. Be specific: Save the ocean, stop the subsidiary to industrial fishing.
Of course, the penises struck a louder note. Hey, the year 2015 was all about vaginas in fashion, from viral dresses to purses and scarves. Maybe 2016 will be all about the penis. Certainly for Rihanna, who has already worn a penis-inspired Westwood piece of her own in purse form, it will be. Now all we have to do is determine whether or not a necklace like this one could fit into our wardrobes.