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RECENTLY, WITHOUT FANFARE or warning, the friends and collaborators Pete Davidson and Colson Baker (better known by his rap pseudonym, Machine Gun Kelly) dropped their pants and went live on the Calvin Klein Instagram account in a sendup of the label’s famous underwear commercials. Maintaining a running gag that they had not, in fact, been hired as models for the brand (they had), they joked about fluffing up “the boys” and poured popcorn into each other’s mouths. Something felt off as the 28-year-old “Saturday Night Live” star and the 31-year-old actor and musician flopped around on an immaculate white couch. It wasn’t just that two straight men, famous for dating even more famous women, were baiting their queer followers by mock flirting with each other in various states of undress, although they were. It was that they looked, uncharacteristically, as clean as the white boxer briefs they’d been paid to wear. Pretending to imagine their power as poster boys, Davidson said, “We could have gotten all the dirty people to buy underwear. … Dirty, trash — like our fans.”

Davidson and Baker have indeed emerged as the internet’s new scumbro crushes, beloved by those who find their unkemptness not repellent but cute. Defined by unwavering swagger and a presumed shampoo shortage, their aesthetic is yet another mutation of the louche, look-don’t-sniff approach to dressing — championed in recent years by the musicians Justin Bieber (denim cutoffs, accessorized with a fuzzy mustache), Wiz Khalifa (low-slung track pants, seemingly pulled straight from the hamper) and Post Malone (Crocs and bowling shirts) — that peaked during what Esquire dubbed 2018’s “Summer of Sleaze.”

Ludovic De Saint Sernin shows you how to look on spring runways. Credit… Imaxtree

But the style of Dirtbag transcends time. It has been adopted by everyone, from Peter Pan, who is forever feral, to the ever-popular J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play of the same name, to the crop topped cast of “The Lost Boys,” the 1987 horror-comedy about a band of sexy exsanguinating bikers starring Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland. The hippies who came out of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in the 1960s wore their rejection of the status quo in the patched bell-bottoms and homemade tie-dyed tees that became their uniform. In the mid-70s, punks wore leather jackets with studded paint and ratty shirts to express their anti-establishment anger. By the early ’90s, practitioners of grunge favored thrift-store finds such as ripped jeans and worn-in flannel shirts as an antidote to the indefatigable capitalist ambition of the mid-80s. Clothing was an expression of unfiltered individuality and confrontation in each case.

TODAY, AS WE aspire to the end of a time marked by assiduous application of Purell, few things can grab our attention as much as looking unclean. At least that seems to be the case made by many of the spring 2022 men’s collections, whose standout pieces share a trashy, torn-up aesthetic that feels explicitly queer, both in its distressed androgyny and in the peculiarity of how much these garments cost despite being proudly scruffy. (It should be said that although we haven’t seen clothing this seemingly dirty and decidedly unstraight on men since the early ’90s — when Gus Van Sant released his 1991 hustler odyssey, “My Own Private Idaho,” and Kurt Cobain wore a black slip dress and tiara onstage — queer women, including the model Cara Delevingne, the actress Kristen Stewart and the rapper Syd, have been experimenting with the perfectly imperfect look for years.)

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 runway collection. Credit… Imaxtree

Hedi Slimane, a Celine creative director, presented a Motocross-inspired collection of rivet-covered vests, faded, baggy Jeans, and frayed at the bottom. He was accompanied by a group of FMX stuntmen from the South of France. For his debut at Diesel, the Belgian creative director Glenn Martens paired form-fitting denim henleys with upcycled jeans reminiscent of the sand-shredded fashion of the “Mad Max” franchise. Contributing to the nostalgia for a slightly grubby recent-past Americana evident in films such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” and Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket,” both released in 2021, Eli Russell Linnetz, the founder of the Venice Beach, Calif.-based line ERL, devised a pair of faux-dirt-encrusted jeans that flared out in three separate tiers and were adorned with a belt buckle made from a messy heap of enamel pins. Balenciaga’s creative Director Demna, who no more uses a last name professionally, introduced bohemia into the X-rated dark clubs of Berlin nightclub Berghain. He paired high-waisted, weathered jeans with slashed open…

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