Fashion is a natural platform for open discourse on gender: reinforcement of normativity, transgressive efforts, dressing up, down and cross- … it all happens within the conceptual play-space of a wardrobe. Patrick Salonga’s 2015 fall-winter collection was the most anticipated presentation at TOM* for me, because earlier I was so very taken-shaken-stirred by his ideas-in-progress on embodiment of masculinities. While I still don’t know if I am put off, intrigued or turned on by the designer’s self-ascribed “fashion prodigy / maverick of his generation” spiel, his work did pique my attention and with his latest offering Salonga continues to hold it, tight.
Salonga envisioned “a time traveler that fell into a time lapse where different periods collide into one (Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and the 21st century).” I feared this traveler would succumb to the lure of Conquest and appear as a militarized amalgamation of patriarchal imperial ambitions. I was wrong, which is a wonderful way to be when it comes to (un)founded dire expectations! The silhouettes were relaxed but not lacking in certain dramatic quality enhanced by the color palette of earth and nightshades. Subtle asymmetry further deescalated my anxiety. The perma-crease on high ankle pants was the requisite sly nod to the business casual menswear canon. And if one must accessorize for shock value, I’ll take the Hannibal Lector (–esque) mask over that WTF-noose anytime. Team Salonga, membership application submitted.