Paris Fashion Week: Bears in men's corsets

By Isaac Hindin Miller

I'm one of the few people who doesn't go out every night during Fashion Week. It's probably the only week when I listen to my brain, my body and my mother, all of whom constantly tell me to go to sleep.

The last two nights, however, I've broken my own rules. Three AM Thursday night (after Australia's soccer win), three AM last night (there was a Karl Lagerfeld sighting to be had).

I'm feeling it now. You might not think that being driven around in a bus all day and watching good looking young men walking up and down a runway is tiring work, but you'd be surprised.

My fingers are clunkier than bricks and my brain is not working as it should. When one sentence might usually take a split second to write, it's now bordering on the minutes - I just wasted two on that one.

Good thing I had a sleep in this morning before my first show of the day, Walter Van Beirendonck. And good thing it's always a laugh - a failsafe wake up remedy. Ever been to that gentlemen-only bar Urge on Auckland's K Road? If not, let me tell you about Bears.

A Bear is a particular breed of man's man. Large and stocky, but above all, hairy. Hairy like a lumberjack. Walter Van Beirendonck is a Bear (and a fashion designer).

The Belgian creates multi-coloured, fanciful clothes (like baby pink jumpsuits or Lego-man helmets), which he then shows on the catwalk, using Bears as models.

Today's show was no exception. Titled Read My Skin, it contained a lot of checks and a lot of colours. Plaid short shorts and blazers, plaid pussy bows and plaid ruffled overskirts. The plaid also featured on men's corsets (worn by themselves) and full suits, with large ammunition holders wrapped around the arms and legs.

Many of the garments had perforations (bullet holes?) in them spelling the word 'Hope'. One tee shirt featured a naive drawing of a whole bunch of different coloured creatures standing alongside one another in perfect harmony. The message was clear - can't we all just get along? Black, white, straight, gay, alien, Bear - stop the persecution, stop the violence, enjoy each other for all of our differences.

Sometimes the most obvious things have to be spelt out.

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