Strathclyde Telegraph

Une Femme est une…Bloke?!

by Lindsey McIntosh

Whilst flicking through a copy of Grazia one rainy afternoon, I found myself drawn to a blonde model’s unbelievable cheekbones and striking eyes. “Pretty bitch,” I grunted jealously, before beginning to read the accompanying article. I had only managed to scan through the second paragraph when I very nearly choked on my afternoon tea.

Andrej Pejic is one hell of beautiful girl. No, wait, correction – boy. For all of those unfamiliar with the twenty year old Australian male model, he’s been the talk of Paris Fashion week, modeling both men and women’s shows for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs. His extreme androgyny has become the red hot subject of the fashion world, and with this season’s fashion attention turning towards a more unisexual movement, it doesn’t seem like his career will be letting up anytime soon.

If last season was the season of ‘The Woman’ then this, my friends, is the season of ‘The Extremely Gender Confused.’ After a wave of nipped-in waists and full skirts last season, inspired by the television phenomenon ‘Mad Men,’ the A/W’11 catwalks have completely changed course, with by an armada of ambi-gender models taking over.

However, I’m not talking about a couple of bad drag acts sent sashaying down the runway in a corset and a slick of lippy as some sort of clever ironic joke on the designer’s part – I mean boys who seriously look like girls. Enough so to be voted number 98 in FHM’s 100 sexiest women, in fact.

The pendulum of the fashion clock often swings dramatically in a different direction when a new season approaches, and A/W’11 proves to be no exception. Androgyny is the style du jour, pushing both the boundaries of fashion and gender identity. These guys are modeling the same clothes as their female companions on the runway and what’s even scarier…they really do look pretty damn good.

Of course, androgyny is by no means a new concept in the world of fashion – David Bowie was a principal pioneer of the transgression trend as his alter-ego ‘Ziggy Stardust’ back in the early 70s. Move into the 80’s and you would find Grace Jones’ severe square-cut hairstyle and power tailored suits influencing girls to consider a more masculine approach to dressing. Fast forward a couple more decades and modern models such as Agyness Deyn are favoring boyish crop haircuts and Dr Martens. Meanwhile supermodel Kate Moss and fashion icon Alexa Chung have adopted a more masculine approach to dressing, rocking bowler hats, brogues and tailored tuxes, and inspiring a new style generation in the process.

Admittedly, this trend may not be one for the mere mortal popping to Tesco; not everyone has the razor-sharp cheekbones required to carry off a chic short hairstyle or the delicate frame to carry off some boyish clothes without risking looking like a lumberjack, but the concept of androgyny is something which I believe should be credited nevertheless: it allows both men and women the freedom to explore the boundaries of their identity, and  to not feel so inhibited by the clothes they wear- and that is definitely something to be celebrated.

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