Impossible haven’t noticed, on the catwalk and on the street: fashion is experiencing an androgynous trend? Between menswear and womenswear flirting is definitely becoming bolder, if women were first to play with the key pieces of the male wardrobe, like white shirts, suits, ties, lace-up shoes, now is the man who is willing to experiment more than ever.
Already during the last fashion weeks, boundaries have moved in a blink: transparencies, delicate silk blouses, high heeled boots, crew-neck coats, mohair printed cardigans, impalpable fabrics, black nylon uniform, all for him and for her. An example? The Gucci men’s collection fall / winter 2015, brought on the catwalk by the new creative director Michele Alessandro who has proposed a feminine way to dress, worn by androgynous and particularly slim models. The fashion designer said about it: I think men and women aren’t so different, it’s possible to create a world for both, is something modern.
The way in which men relate with fashion has changed, they no longer have any fear of playing, experience and enjoy fashion. In this sense there is more equality between men and women, evident in the way in which they “consume” fashion. Now, men are more informed about what they wear, in reference to the quality of fabrics, refinement of the details and modern cuts. The way they dress is shaping to be “purely practical” in a way to communicate who they really are and their personality. And that’s the beauty of fashion.
The same piece can assume a completely different character depending on whether it’s worn by a man or a woman, which is particularly interesting and challenging for fashion designers. Today men and women are so sure of their sexuality that they can play quite naturally, interpreting the wardrobe according to their codes.
The Maison that are increasingly pushing beyond the boundaries are many: Givenchy, JW Anderson, Rick Owens, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, to name a few. Julia Roberts in Givenchy’s advertising fall / winter 2014 pays tribute to a tailoring that goes beyond any definition of gender. The trend is cyclical, has had a strong growth during the 90’s, when Calvin Klein proposed a unique fragrance for him and her, dressing men and women in jeans and t-shirt. But the phenomenon has evolved over time, and today goes beyond the exchange of clothing and accessories, there is a real new flexibility of boundaries, removal of restrictions.
And to prove the ongoing trend is the recent revolution of Selfridges, which just opened Selfridges Agender: a new concept of space, designed by Faye Toogood. From 12th of March, for six weeks, three floors of the store in Oxford Street become an environment that transcends the “she” or “he” proposing only unisex items: fashion, accessories and beauty. But not only, in fact, photography, music, design and cinema explore all round the idea of androgynous.
It would be interesting to know if the trend of unisex fashion will be exclusively limited to clothes that can be worn by both sexes, or if it will lead to a bold new perspective towards the concept of gender.