Fashion + Sexuality

A Decade of the Rainbow Runway

The LGBTQ+ community has had many iconic moments in fashion. One of the first and most wildly celebrated was Yves Saint Laurent’s famous tailored tuxedo with white satin stripe, worn with a white ruffled shirt. 1954’s ‘Le Smoking’ jacket changed women’s clothing forever.

This androgynous look marked a shift in attitude towards gender differentiation. For a long time, the fashion industry has been greatly influenced by the styles and trends adopted by the LGBTQ+ community. However, recognition for their efforts has mostly gone unnoticed.

Fashion has played an important part by becoming more than just a sartorial medium for the queer community. The industry has witnessed the emergence of some of the most well renowned designers from the LGBTQ+ community. Designers such as Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, John Paul Gaultier and Alexander Mc Queen, to name a few.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the Top 6 most iconic moments of the decade on the rainbow runway.

1. Beauty and the Bride

Karl Lagerfeld’s 2013 couture show, made a strong political statement about same sex marriage. Instead of using just one bride, he sent two brides down the runway. They were accompanied by a 4 year old boy playing the role of their son. This was in support of the same-sex marriage law that had been passed in France. 

2. Pride of the Rainbow

Cara Delevingne walked the Burberry runway in 2018, in a rainbow colored faux fur coat. The designer, Christopher Bailey, dedicated his final collection to the LGBTQ+ youth all around the world. The capsule collection comprised garments with a mix of tartan and the seven colored LGBTQ+ flag.

Bailey said, “There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength and our creativity.

3. Reinforce – “Trans is beautiful”

A cast of transgender models walked the runway of Marco Marco’s, September 2018 fashion show. The models included Laverne Cox, Gigi Gorgeous, Trace Lysette, Dominique Jackson and Angelica. Morante said he “wanted to create a space to celebrate trans bodies”

4. “Fashion is Queer”

In 2018, DapperQ a digital fashion-focused company showcased 12 queer designers at NYFW. Working alongside queer advocates, models, writers and make up artists they went on to prove that styles and fashion emerging from queer and trans experiences may define what the future of fashion will look like. The catwalk included models of all genders, sizes, race and ethnicities wearing cutting edge modern garb.

This show was a representation of an ethos of inclusion.

5. It’s a Drag Extravaganza

At the opening ceremony of the Spring 2019 NYFW, designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon invited Sasha Velour to host “The gift of Showz”, alongside 100% LGBTQ models.

Whether they like it or not, Opening Ceremony has just welcomed over 40 queer artists and entertainers into their family,” Velour told the audience before the show began.

The show portrayed a true celebration of individuality, freedom of expression and realizing dreams through fashion.

6. Celebrating Humanity

In 2019, Pierre Davis became the first trans gender designer to showcase her collection at New York fashion Week. Her brand “No Sesso” sets out to inspire people to be more community-minded and realize that not everything is about aesthetics and commerce.

This decade has seen inclusivity in all forms. From brands like Fenty beauty which plays a great role in promoting all skin colors, to clothing brands like Aerie that are body positive, fashion has grown rapidly. The celebration of the LGBTQ community and recognition of their achievements in the field of fashion is being widely accepted and appreciated throughout the world. Gender fluid fashion and styling has reinvented ideas for the future of fashion. What’s next?

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