"Dress like a boy, talk like a girl." Leikeli47's rap on the soundtrack was an aggressive reiteration of Duckie Brown
's ongoing assault on the stereotypical. Steven Cox and Daniel Silver make menswear that is never anything less than intensely masculine. It's just that their man is no run-of-the-mill testosterone sac. Cox's incorrigible desire to mess with his audience's minds meant that today's models sported a bowl cut inspired by Purdey, the character that Joanna Lumley played in the cult Brit TV show The New Avengers,
but that cheesy femme quality was counterbalanced by outfits that were, claimed Cox, at least partially influenced by photos of South African farm workers. At its most literal, this influence elaborated on the market-trader vibe of last season, with aprons cut from jute sacks of a fair-trade provenance, but otherwise the African association felt like something more elegant, more North than South. There's usually something a bit fantastical in a DB collection, and here it arrived in the vision of Cox's short-over-long-over-pants layering in pure white cotton or desert khaki or stripes, dropped crotch optional. In other words, clothes fit for a stylish young man-about-Marrakech.
Which is perhaps a little too
fantastical, given that the collection was possibly Duckie Brown's most refined challenge to date to hidebound Western notions of what constitutes appropriateness in menswear. (Cue Leikeli47's urgent declamations.) And yet what looked at first view like yet another rejoining of the men-in-skirts debate was actually Cox's twisty little deconstruction of the very foundations of sports
-wear. A halter-top shift was an elongated sweatshirt with the sleeves taken out. A skirt was simply basketball shorts with the seams opened up. Paired with a polo shirt, it wasn't so hard to picture it on one of the laddish football fanatics that Cox admired from afar in his impressionable English youth. Turning the familiar into something strange, making you look at it anew—it's always been this way with Duckie Brown. And if there's anyone in New York who can seduce the butchest boy on the block into wearing a blouson cut from fine French lace, it's these two.