Fashion History: Fancy Pants



The decadent statement pant is a ridiculous and exciting tradition, its signature barely wearable materials and unfathomable pricetags. Remember Balenciaga’s 100K golden leggings? When they debuted at Nicolas Ghesquière’s Spring 2007 collection, no one mentioned anything but his apparent C3P0 fetish. Made only on special order, and popularized by Beyonce at the MTV movie awards, no simple slacks would ever come close. They also made plated ones that cost less, which is probably what you saw in the papers.

But one not-so-slack pant did come close last season, when Maison Martin Margiela held the fashion world up to its own image, quite literally, by lining his men’s collection with mirrors. While disco-inspired jackets and trim were adventurous but reasonable, these incredible, all-reflective leggings looked absolutely impractical, which made them complete fun in an over-the-top, paraliyzed Lady Gaga kind of way. And yet somehow, covered in glass, you could walk.

The latest entry into fancy pants came from Gareth Pugh, the Britain’s designer of futuristic torture devices. When Pugh decided to try his hand at menswear, his legions (literally, the lines outside his London shows are notoriously nightmarish) of admirers froze in anticipation. First of all, men’s looks don’t allow for as many sci-fi theatrics, and menswear tends to be, well, more sellable. So while his collection trotted out Edward Scissorhand look alikes, his satin trenches and military tuxes could conceivably be worn in this dimension.

So wearable that pieces of his collection have been, in fact, produced (he notoriously didn’t sell a stitch of clothing until Spring 2008), and showed up at Colette in Paris. Both genders are featured, but its the slinky, patched leather trousers that put Gareth at his most Pugh. He took on the statement trousers with leather (Balenciaga chose gold, and Margiela used mirrors), embroidering the leather so it had a voluminous, patchworked feel. A trend with legs, indeed.

For more fancy pants, check out our September issue.