We Need to Talk About Travis Barker


Yes, stranger things have happened than that of the unlikely union between Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian. Westminster's resident marionette Michael Gove was recently seen throwing the twos up at an Aberdeen techno night. Bezos wants to put Martians on zero hours contracts in a phallic starship. Gwyneth Paltrow ate a bit of bread, for crying out loud. But on the 'sorry, I beg your pardon?' scale, the romance between a pop punk sage and a reality TV infanta scores pretty high marks. Stranger still is said pop punk sage's rebrand.

During Dolce & Gabbana's vaunted Alta Moda show over the weekend – a spectacle! Venizia! Helen Mirren in a big dress on a big speedboat! – the newly minted couple arrived to much fanfare. Unexpected celebrity couples tend to do that. But of particular note to menswearheads – we who take a living and pleasure from the business of getting dressed – was Barker's transformation. This was no Blink-182 throwback of wet look gel and spongy Etnies. This was slightly sexy and very Italian tailoring. And, for a rockstar that last made a dent on the mainstream charts in 2004 ("Always" by the way, which still properly, actually slaps), it's very current.

The happy couple in Venice

Photo by PHOTOPIX.

Because it's Dolce & Gabbana at the most recent Dolce & Gabbana show, sure (with a pair of trousers from LA-Parisian brand Enfants Riches Déprimés). But when menswear at large is getting bawdier, and when suits have taken a macabre turn for The Addams Family (think Alyx, the brainchild of Givenchy's creative director Matthew Williams, and Parisian cross-platform disruptor Études), the 45-year-old is right on the kernel of contemporary trends. It's not for everyone. It is doing everything right, though – and there's still an echo of rockstar.

Besides, the black suit is a bottomless gold mine – and no longer is it solely ring fenced for funeral pyres and brick shithouse bodyguards (both of which Dolce & Gabbana outfits impeccably well). Black is to be worn at weddings, and work, and clandestine meetings with briefcases full of cash. Buy one, wear it forever. Buy one like Barker's, and wear it with almost everything in your wardrobe. Or, like Barker, without a shirt if you're feeling particularly ROCK, BRAH. Princes of Darkness can be sexy and current too.

The turnaround is impressive, and shows that moments of reinvention (and rejuvenation) can exist well into adulthood without the chilling whisper of a mid-life crisis. Look at Jeff Goldblum; Stanley Tucci; Bill Murray's trippy half-and-half garms at the Cannes Film Festival. All great, and all ensuring a level of relevance for men who've been in the Hollywood lexicon for decades.

A single Dolce & Gabbana suit does not a viral moment make. A Kardashian is often the amplifier of these such things. What's more, cynics are keen to stress that the course of true love never did run smooth without the guidance of a canny publicist. Like Bennifer 2.0, one could accuse this new romance – and this really quite cool moment of neo-Allen Poe waviness – to be a mere ploy for ever-swelling column inches. Either way, it's working.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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