When Lenny Kravitz draped himself in a slinky jersey pullover—matched with leather leggings and leather wedge boots—and stepped out in New York's SoHo in late September, the androgynous look made headlines.
The inevitable "American Woman" jokes aside, the outfi t was a prominent example of a men's wear trend that's taken root among the young and hip, combining elements of Goth, grunge and glam rock—or "glunge," as some industry prognosticators call it.
"It's dark, broody and powerful," says Justin Violini, a former men's buyer at Gilt.com. "It's glamorous but not glitzy."
Advocates of the style include designers Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons and Mihara Yasuhiro. Americans who have evolved it in their own manner include Richard Chai, Robert Geller, Yigal Azrouël, Andrew Buckler, Nicholas K., Mik Cire and even Tim Hamilton with his Redux label. Among the common elements in the glunge aesthetic are a dark fabric palette, experimental silhouettes and proportions, an emphasis on drape, dropped crotches, hooded shirts, exaggerated necklines and innovative seaming details. "With my own collection, there is always that feeling of it being a bit undone and raw," notes Chai.
Glunge can be an esoteric approach to dressing. "It's feminine in that it's redefi ning traditional masculine tailoring, which has been all about an emphasis on fi t and shape," explains Andy Salzer, founder of the Yoko Devereaux label. "This newer look is shapeless."
Eddy Chai, co-founder of the influential Odin stores in New York, sees the Gothic mood pervading men's fashion as a pendulum shift away from the preppy and heritage sportswear that's been so prevalent. "This is darker and edgier," he notes. —David Lipke