Move aside, freakishly hairless Ken, Medallion Man is back

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Move aside, freakishly hairless Ken, Medallion Man is back

Believe it or not, the 'sexually confident' look of jewellery on a hairy chest is a hit again

Victoria Moss


When Keira Knightley’s husband James Righton was photographed with her at the Paris Opera Ballet Gala it confirmed longstanding fears about the ever-turning wheel of fashion. Yes, the medallion is back.
The man jewellery and chest hair combo so beloved by the likes of Tom Jones and Tom Selleck now seems to have been taken up with enthusiasm by a younger generation. Perhaps it’s all the fault of Aidan Turner’s shirtless appearance in Poldark.
Righton, the former member of the Klaxons who was once more likely to be seen in skinny jeans and a blue lamé shirt, is the latest to undo one button too many and reveal a glint of jewellery overlaying a hirsute chest.
Fashion writers say the return of the medallion and open-necked shirt follows renewed focus on the natural and authentic rather than polished, over-affected style.
Among its practitioners is Harry Styles, seen recently in an open shirt with dangling crucifix necklace, and Kanye West – both poster men for a look that Vogue.com has pegged as the return of man-cleavage.
On Instagram, Chris Millington, a Scottish model, has built up a 500,000-strong following based on his bearded, rugged, hirsute look which falls somewhere between Brokeback Mountain and David Beckham. See also Christian Williams (140,000 followers) who regularly posts pictures of his bare chest. Robbie Williams can also often be seen showing off his fuzzy front-rug and glistening necklaces.
Luke Day, editor of GQ Style, says: “I get it’s not for everyone, but there’s something nostalgic and sexually confident that I love about a hairy chest on display, with optional medallion for bonus points.
“That louche, sleazy look is actually very fashionable again and it’s non-ironic. We just need the manscaped, hairless ones to catch on.”
But in an era when masculinity is being intently analysed, it’s perhaps no surprise that men are going back to caveman basics. Stephen Doig, The Daily Telegraph’s men’s style editor, said: “The re-emergence of medallion man – that snake-hipped Tom Jones tribute act with his medallion necklaces nestling on a fullsome rug of chest hair – comes at a time when 1970s sensuality is the mainstay in men’s style.
“It also speaks to men’s athleticism now; you need the right frame to wear a gaping shirt and not look like a Butlins’ tribute act. Equally, jewellery has risen to prominence as men become more comfortable with the idea of decoration.
“As for the chest rug, Poldark actor Aidan Turner has helped stem the tide of Ken Doll-style, freakishly hairless Love Island-alikes. And it’s no coincidence that at a time when the world couldn’t feel more tumultuous, Medallion Man arrives – on the red carpet as well as the catwalks of Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Brioni – to light up the dance floor with his gleaming medallions.”
– © The Daily Telegraph

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