Forget about the Preening Metrosexual
Byline: By PAUL CAREY Western Mail
If white is the new black this season, as all fashionistas know, are men the new women? Where once London Fashion Week was all about what women should be wearing, February 2006 is much more about men. One of the week's hottest tickets - today - will be MAN, a showcase of cutting-edge men's clothes. The show, by five young designers and Topman Design, is a sign of how British menswear is coming into its own, thanks in part to a raft of new young designers. 'Men are less and less embarrassed to talk about fashion and are becoming more and more fashion- savvy,' says Gordon Richardson, head of Topman Design. But is it also an indication of the way men are taking over arenas traditionally dedicated to women? Last year saw the launch of two men's style magazines - GQ Style and Another Man. And Men's Health magazine, featuring taut torsos and silky six-packs, has a monthly circulation of 230,000. While women used to be the queens of cutting back on calories, men are dieting more than they used to. According to a recent Mintel survey, 25% of men are trying to lose weight (compared with 42% of women). And they are catching up in other predilections once dominated by the girls. Men now account for more than 11% of total aesthetic surgical procedures in the UK. In 2005, 2,440 men had cosmetic operations, which involved breast reduction, nose jobs, ear corrections and hair implants, compared with 1,092 in 2004. The likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Marc Almond and Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi have admitted to a little help from the surgeon's knife, while Michael Douglas was reported to have paid pounds 7,000 on plastic surgery before his marriage to the lovely Catherine Zeta-Jones. No wonder then that the phrase 'metrosexual' - a man who embraces his inner female and enjoys pursuits such as fashion and grooming - was born. But have men become too obsessed with the way they look? In the US, a new male is emerging - the ubersexual - and the word is that the metrosexual, coined two years ago by top trend spotter Marian Salzman, has had his day.
The ubersexual is said to embrace the positive aspects of his masculinity or 'M-ness' - such as confidence, leadership, compassion and passion - without giving in to the stereotypes that give 'real men' a bad name (disrespect toward women, emotional vacuum, ignorance of anything beyond football). Salzman, author of new book The Future of Men, believes the days of metro are numbered, partly because there is a backlash to them rather overstaying their welcome. (It's all very well gelling your hair, Gavin, but how many times do we have to hear about it?)
According to Salzman, men want their 'M-ness' back. …