Social media hot spots I find myself most often hanging around have been teeming with news, gossip, videos and ‘selfies’ of a very gender non-binary nature. I’m talking androgyny, and what’s more interesting than that? Androgynous fashion.

Image by Getty Images for Entertainment Industry Foundation

Anne Hathaway’s androgynous glamour. Image by Getty Images for Entertainment Industry Foundation

Androgyny and/in fashion is by no means a recent development. Throughout the timeline of fashion we have seen the proverbial flash of androgyny here and there, likely because it’s an intriguing concept to have a genderfluid/genderless display of beauty and artistic expression, particularly if it shows up on the street scene (where the binary dress code is all too obvious).
Pop culture has had quite the effect on society through its various media developments and cultural movements. So the true charge in androgynous fashion began in the 1960s, in Western society’s ‘Counter-Culture Generation’ [3].

Diane Keaton in 'Annie Hall' wearing a style that would become known as the New Yorker.

Diane Keaton in ‘Annie Hall’ wearing a style that would become known as the New Yorker.

Since then, the fashion industry has nailed it, at the very least in terms of predicting the current trends in the industry from the 60s onward, as it’s continued to capitalize on the ever-growing popularity of ‘blurred line’ dress. Peterson, from Scholars Corner, comfortably states that such capitalization has grown from replicating the styles of popular icons, such as Boy George, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and the Punk Scene [4].

 

Alessandro Michele, on the catwalk of the Autumn Winter Men's collection. Picture Credit: Indigital

Alessandro Michele, on the catwalk of the Autumn Winter Men’s collection. Picture Credit: Indigital

Since the sexual revolution, the binaries that designers once conformed to have truly begun to relax and the momentum is really kicking in. We don’t have to look very hard to see it either – have you seen the recent Italian Autumn/Winter Men’s fashion from Gucci?

Alessandro Michele (pictured above), Gucci’s new creative director, featured in his debut show adorned in stacked ring jewellery, pussy-bow scarlet blouses and a red lace tunic top. Vogue writer, Julia Hobbs, describes his show, and his design choices, as “down-styled, thrift-inspired glamour”. His ensembles are composed in a way that modestly reveals the effeminate qualities of the male physique. His incorporation of ready-to-wear clothing communicates, to me at least, that gender and expression are not mutually exclusive. It’s playful, relaxed, it certainly doesn’t look uncomfortable, and it’s liberating.

Androgyny appeals to our very human sense of curiosity and change, especially now-a-days as the need for conservatism becomes less and less. I pinch the words from Robert Greene, highly outspoken author and self-promoter, who said, “In a society where the roles everyone plays are obvious, the refusal to conform to any standard will excite interest. Be both masculine and feminine, impudent and charming, subtle and outrageous” [1].

 

 

Notes:

1. Braukamper, Tania. 2013. “Androgyny and Fashion: the evolving trend”. http://www.fashionising.com/trends/b–androgyny-androgynous-fashion-22284.html. Last modified 14 March 2013.

2. Hobbs, Julia. 2015. “Meet the New Flamboyant Man”. http://www.vogue.co.uk/fashion/trends/2015-spring-summer/the-new-flamboyant-man Vogue. 23 January 2015.

3. Lalovic, Itana. 2013. “Androgyny in the fashion world”. http://wsimag.com/fashion/91-androgyny-in-the-fashion-world. Wall Street International. 19 November 2013.

4. Peterson, Jefferis K. 1996. “Androgyny and Popular Culture parts 1 & 2” http://scholarscorner.com/didache/AndrogynnPOPC Last modified — 2014.

 

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