Monday, 18 February 2013

Modern Androgyny

Andrej Pejic
Gone are the days of long flowing leather skirts and loud spectrums of make-up being strictly female. These generalisations have been warped even since the times of David Bowie's bodysuits and body glitter. Through a style revolution where men look like women and women look like men an incredible movement has abstractly progressed. It's quite funny that mini-pencil skirts were once seen as an empowering feminist symbol for freedom of promiscuity and birth control - now your latest givenchy collection will have males donning them with pride. The limitations in femininity and masculinity within separate genders is non-existent and the fortune of this means fashion has more va-va-voom. Throughout history the challenge of gender stereotypes and conformities has been present. 'Flappers' in the 1920's cut their hair short and adopted tom-boyish etiquettes to prove that they are equal to men where as Men have protested for freedom of sexuality through thumb rings and cross-dressing. With messages of equality, peace, sex and love through the bizarre era of the 20th century these themes have carried on in the contemporary world and gender mixing and liberation is always in vogue.

Through fashion these themes are incredibly salient and through history we can learn more of it's origin. An early influence is the 'Le Smoking' movement by Yves Saint Laurent and it's renown and revolutionary tuxedo for females. What could be more exciting and sexy than a dame in a white shirt, cummerbunds and black tie ensemble? It's present today too. You can see echo's of this former glory even through the Yves Saint Laurent Autumn/Winter 12/13 collection which provides a cascade of epicene yet arousing women in leather power suits, black hoods and a feisty vigorous persona that every man wishes to tame. The result? A society accustomed to seeing women in trousers and soon to be accustomed to seeing men in skirts and heels. However, there are some controversial extents of quite how 'homoerotic' and risque this trend can go. Looking at Versace Spring/Summer 13 collection; the runway seemed to be confusingly piled with an abstract scale of virile connotations to 'flower power'. In short a man in a suave 3-piece suit would casually be followed by a man in pink pants, pink sandals and holding a pink man clutch. 

YSL SS/13 & Marlene Dietrich (Le Smoking)
Same-sex tolerance as a whole however is generally a lot better. We've seen the legalisation of gay marriage in England this month and Karl Lagerfield's 'same-sex' statement for Chanel: Haute Couture SS13 in Paris to show support for gay marriage in France and a restoration of change. These themes are used as a protest for the prospect of equality in the future, and what better do young generations do than protest? The non-conformity towards stereotypical gender roles leads to the classic 'butch bitch' and 'femme boy' among us. Through fashion these statements provide a catalyst for the promotion of a tolerance for varied sexualities and the persistent messages of free love and sex. There's no question that the influences of fashion has made these trends all the more effective. With eye-catching and shocking concoctions of style, statements are sure to be raised and impossible to ignore. Let's not however reference to the disastrous 'heroin-chic' movement which promoted androgyny but also promoted lines of cocaine and unhealthy demeanour. However, the benefits of movements such as this were a forbearance and apprehension of the need for individual rights and personal expressions.
Versace & Givenchy SS13
& Stella Tennant at The Olympics
The contentious 'Mrs Man' model Andrej Pejic is the famed face for androgyny. From day one on the fashion scene Pejic was instantly mistaken for a female and met a rush of demands to see his male genitalia or his birth certificate. Pejic represents the threat against the 'unstoppable' egomaniacal male stereotype and it's presumed demise. In years to come there could be a totally dissolved separation between males and females not only in fashion but in every day life. While walking through your local clothing emporium you may find there are no longer separate clothing or even changing rooms for males and females as gender integration takes full force. Is this sexual ambiguity and nonchalance dangerous to the partition of M&F or will it never ever go to this extent? I just hope not to tap a 'girl' on the shoulder in a bar with a cheeky 'hey good looking' expression to find 'James' with hair extensions and studded heels and promptly run out in shock.

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