This fall, men are showing just how far they can bend a black-tie invitation. And whatever their ideas of formal dinner suits may lack in tradition, they make up for in wit and whimsy. A toreador tux, a dress shirt with Dalmatians and a dog-bone bow tie, a sparkling silver muffler and a dinner ensemble mix of foulard prints once reserved for neckties are all out there, adding life to L.A. parties. That's especially true when the guest list is heavy on fashion folk, as it was the night Saks Fifth Avenue hosted a Christian Lacroix fashion show recently, sponsored by four local, socially active volunteer groups.
Some men's outfits--the foulard tux, for one--could have passed as vintage, but are, in fact, new styles by designers such as New York-based Matsuda. Some accessories, including the silver lame muffler draped over a neon-pink bow tie, came to life under the lights and proved they could only be modern, post-disco creations.
Thrift-shop cutaways with gold-braid trim and a campy shirt covered with canines are the season's outer limits in bent fashion rules. But such funny bone formals spark more conservative imaginations and encourage all sorts of men to get into the game.
One conventional dresser dared to test tradition when he folded his white handkerchief into a floppy daisy and pinned it near the satin lapel of his tux. Who can say what he'll dare to do next?