Gender fluidity is on the rise and the lines between menswear and womenswear are becoming increasingly more blurred. Let’s take a look at who’s behind the gender bending fashion revolution.
Wide shoulders, clean cuts, masculine silhouettes and geometric forms. “Revisited tuxedos” are the undisputed protagonists, not only of the runways, but also of various celebrities’ Instagram feeds. Never before have the boundaries between fashion for women and men been so undefined.
If fashion is a reflection of what is happening in society, then something is clearly changing. What was once acceptable for one gender, is now suitable for anyone and it’s clear that gender fluid fashion is far from being just a trend.
Millenial fashion leaders and Gen Z sexual revolutionaires
Designers’ willingness to create gender bending collections, reflects a cultural momentum where the leaders of fashion are the millennials. For this generation the concepts of masculinity and femininity are no longer essential.
Both men and women want to define themselves on their own terms without social labeling. To millennials, fluidity is the norm not the exception. In a world where everything is connected, life is not considered as a binary system dominated by black and white. Grey exists and it’s stronger than ever.
The so called Generation Z has a whole different perception of sexuality and sexual orientation both outside and inside fashion. In everyday life men are now occupying female positions and (fortunately, I would add) women have access to roles that for years were reserved only to men. Over time this progression towards a genderless, equal society has filtered into fashion.
The gender bending fashion revolution
2015 was when the real revolution started as Alessandro Michele was appointed as Gucci’s creative director.
For his first collection he created something completely unexpected and innovative; a kaleidoscope of colors, transparencies, ribbons, floral tuxedos, flamboyant blouses worn by men. The fashion show was a blaze of elegance, extravagance and more than everything a celebration of genderless orientation. https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2015-menswear/gucci/slideshow/collection#20
The public and critics welcomed his genius and his collection was a huge success. In 2017, Alessandro Michele was listed by Time magazine as the only Italian among the “100 most influential People” worldwide.
Genderless fashion today
Now let’s fast forward to the present day and to the most recent fashion shows. Balenciaga, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Dior, Burberry, Jil Sanders, Saint Laurent and many more designers have decided to go genderless.
We’re seeing double-breasted jackets, narrow trousers and elaborate traditionally masculine suits for all. The catwalks are full of women who are elegant and refined but also strong and sure of themselves, some with an androgynous touch. Designers are using make-up and hairstyles to create a genderless look with angular forms, masculine hair cut, light and sometimes invisible make-up.
From the more classic brands to the more experimental ones, fashion seems to have embraced the neutral gender, making female models wear pieces from the men’s collections and vice versa. In other cases, some designers have chosen to explore either one side or the other, opting for juxtapositions instead of seeking out middle ground.
In the future, we could see menswear and womenswear departments disappear. Unisex collections could become the norm. Maybe we will consider ourselves as part of one big category: humans. Who knows? All we do know is that gender bending fashion is not a trend. It’s a revolution – one that will change the face of fashion forever.