Alled-Martinez Spring 2023 Menswear

“I don’t really like the term ‘Y2K,’” quipped Archie Alled-Martinez during a Zoom preview from his hotel in Paris. “We just used to call it ‘millennium’ back then, so that’s what it is for me.”

Alled-Martinez is part of a wave of millennial designers that is remarkably skilled at putting together a visual mood that encapsulates an era or mood. “I do a ton of research,” he said “I like exhaustive research of images and visuals, it’s what helps me design.” Much of the research he did for spring was based on the mystique around the soccer player. Titled “Reclaiming the Fields,” the collection is a nod to the homoeroticism of that figure and a reclaiming of the word and concept of a “metrosexual.” “I kept reading that word as I researched and I thought, ‘How homophobic?’ Alled-Martinez said as he pulled up the Google definition of the word: “a young, urban, heterosexual male with liberal political views, an interest in fashion, and a refined sense of taste.”

The fact is, around the time both Alled-Martinez and myself were growing up, the word was casually thrown around as a descriptor of a straight man who embodied all the stereotypical characteristics of a gay man without (allegedly) being one. In essence it was a way for people to pejoratively call someone gay without actually doing so. Many of the “metrosexuals” of our time were famous athletes, particularly soccer players, who dressed well and looked even better—David Beckham being the best example. In fact, Beckham was a source of inspiration for Alled-Martinez, which explains why the lookbook resembles a series of photos of Beckham in the late noughties, the clothes looking like just what he would have worn for a night out with or without Victoria Beckham.

The collection itself stays true to the signature homoerotic aesthetic that Alled-Martinez has become known for, particularly to the gay fashion community and social media space. Part of the charm of the label is that its founder knows just how to speak to his audience. “There’s an intrinsic nostalgia to my work, I like to recreate things that are constantly in my mind,” Alled-Martinez said as he walked me through the lineup for spring. Low-rise cargo pants, straight-cut jeans, knee-length swim trunks, and tight short shorts build the core of the assortment, all cut and styled in his signature gay male gaze, which is homoerotic and often voyeuristic. They’re all references to the way men would dress back in the second half of the 2000’s, and, most significantly, to those elements of masculinity that gay men coming into their queerness at the time would often lust for.

“I like doing the tees because it reminds me of when I was growing up and would see a Ford logo tee that said ‘fuck’ instead,” Alled-Martinez said. This season’s tees with Ford and Bic logos reimagined as “faggot” and “dick,” respectively, will surely be a hit for his nostalgic customer, but the designer was at his best this season when he took it past the mood board and found a way of turning nostalgic items into covetable pieces. A pair of baggy cargos in light wash denim stood out, with the center-front crotch seam mimicking a jockstrap, as did macrame bags made in raw silk and “cheap poly football uniforms” reimagined in glossy, saturated colored knitted silk.

For his presentation, Allied-Martinez decided to lean into the voyeuristic sensuality of his brand, creating an installation that saw guests peep into the collection through holes in a wooden wall to discover a locker room where models were changing in and out of the clothes. “Basically an ode to voyeurism and glory holes, all about desire,” said the designer. It was something that felt right out of XY magazine, another Y2K–sorry, I mean millennium–gem many millennial gay men will surely remember.

Read More, Vogue

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