Emilio Cavallini unisex tights
As I'm sure you've surmised by now, I'm a pretty progressive gal. Cynical, a little angry and totally judgmental, but progressive nonetheless. I thought it was cute when J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons was photographed painting her young son's toenails pink, I say bravo to Chaz Bono who had the courage and conviction to embrace his true self, and yes, I believe everyone has the right to free speech, even if they are knuckle-dragging whackjobs whose fatuous right wing beliefs stem from the Old Boy teachings of Rich White America. (When the fascists rule the world after a Hunger Games type apocalypse, this blog is totally gonna land me on a watchlist.)
Despite my general Live and Let Live attitude (barring leather shorts, PajamaJeans, yoga, bridal diapers, The Jersey Shore, and Sex and the City, of course) I do draw the line somewhere. And that place is at mantyhose. Earlier this week, revolutionary Italian legwear brand Emilio Cavallini disclosed to Women's Wear Daily that approximately 3 percent of their hosiery business consists of men. They launched a unisex collection of tights in 2009 and it is going over well with dudes in Europe and North America who wear them mostly as an extra layer for warmth in the winter, but have also been known to rock them under shorts as a fashion statement. Prints include skulls, stars, checks and stripes. Which sounds totally cute! On me.
Emilio Cavallini has been on my radar since the late 80s/early 90s when my father was the national distributor for the avant garde clothing and accessories brand noted for seamless construction and outrageous tights. The designer was probably best known for providing outfits for the seminal twin pop sensation Milli Vanilli, which is, you know, prescient. Much as I always thought Cavallini was so super cool and oh-my-god-how-rad-are-these-tights-with-big-holes-in-them-they-will-look-so-awesome-under-my-plaid-school-uniform, sadly the Canadian public was not ready for him. (Thankfully, my father had an arsenal of other Italian labels that sold like hotcackes.) Although the brand has since ditched ready-to-wear and focused solely on that region below the belt that either makes you love genetics or want to strangle its evil, sinewy neck, clearly they haven't kicked their ol' subversive tendencies.
Allow me to say, with utter sincerity, I totally dig a dude who wears pink. It's brave, it's sexy and it tells me that he doesn't subscribe to antiquated societal norms. That's a guy I would like to befriend, and depending on what he looks like, maybe even go down on. But a man in tights reminds me of Louis XIV, whom I admire for nurturing the arts during a rather prolific literary time in France and who is responsible for turning Versailles into what is a rather nice little maison, but who also probably didn't shower that often (I mean the French did invent perfume for a reason) which means pink or no pink, I wouldn't tap that for anything.
Also, I'm all for gender equality, but I kinda want to see that happen in places like, oh I don't know, the workplace and maybe Iran, before blurring the lines of fashion and beauty. It's hard enough to find a guy who wears decent shoes — OH MY GOD, why can't dudes in North America wear decent shoes?! — let's not start telling them to wear pantyhose. Or as Essie Weingarten, founder of global nail polish brand Essie, suggested to me earlier this week, wear nail polish. In fact, she strongly advises us to share our nail polish with the men in our lives. What Essie doesn't know, though, and what my kindergarten classmates can wholeheartedly attest, is that I don't share. Not toys, crayons, clothing or nail polish. Nor the belief that the world is ready for men in tights.