Men are often the silent victims of ageism in fashion, but with his Grammys red carpet outfit, musician Lenny Kravitz spoke up, offering an alternative to slipping your Seniors Card into a puffy vest, worn over a navy sweater, plaid shirt and corduroy pants.
In skintight Saint Laurent leather pants and a chainmail top by designer Natalia Fedner, who has dressed Beyonce, Shakira and Doja Cat, the 57-year-old exuded more sex appeal than the combined forces of Justin Bieber, 28, in an oversized Balenciaga suit and 25-year-old BTS member V in a Louis Vuitton suit with a waterfall bodice.
Equally comfortable flaunting hydrated skin on the red carpet was 50 years old House of Gucci actor Jared Leto, wearing a Gucci-embellished metallic top with a plunging neckline, showcasing a toned chest and layered necklaces.
Like their female counterparts Helen Mirren, 76, Jane Fonda, 84, and Sandra Bullock, 57, the two celebs boast trim silhouettes that can meet stylists’ sample size requests, but Nicholas Huxley, the former head of the TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio, says dressing the other side of the 50s is as much about attitude as it is a commitment to aerobics.
“I can never understand why older men feel like they have to look conservative and professional,” says Huxley. “I’m sure they fear being viewed as sheep in SPAM’s clothing, but to me they miss out on all the fun of fashion.”
Huxley, who has trained and mentored many of the country’s top designers including Akira Isogawa, Alex Perry, Nicky Zimmermann, Bianca Spender and Dion Lee, continues to create unique designs from thrift store finds and enjoys the varied feedback from people.
“I don’t do it to try to generate comments, like the men in shock value dresses or Justin Bieber in his oversized suit. I dress to express my attitude. For me, it’s about feeling confident, expressing yourself and not being afraid of what people think. I’m getting ready to turn 68, so I want to dress how I want.
The fashion world is filled with inspiration for men who prefer to flaunt, rather than hide daddy-and-grandpa-bods. Vivienne Westwood’s husband, Andreas Kronthaler, 56, is the creative director of her sex-infused label and looks comfortable in ripped t-shirts, parachute pants and combat boots.