Céline Resort 2017, Raf Simons S/S Menswear
I’ve thought about the development of womenswear and menswear , unisex, gender-fluid clothes and such. I like the idea of putting the men and womens clothes together, unisex and being androgynous. But and however I am open for the dichotomy that we still have today. Things need’nt feel black or white, but grey. Both sexes and even people who identify themselves as non-binary should feel free to play in whatever clothes and fashions they like. But there are things I’d like to talk and reflect about with you.
Men don’t wish to be like women, they wish to be more dynamic within fashion, in dress. (Not talking for the non-binary of course). And for women there seems to be a clear reaction from their frivolous side. It seems to me that there’s a new kind of woman. The other day I listened to the designer J.W Anderson talking about the new style of menswear in womenswear due to the Céline effect by Phoebe Philo. And if one looks closely there is a resemblance with the male renunciation in the 1850’s. For those of you who haven’t read fashion history that actually was the year when men dumped the idea of frivolity in their fashions, the high heels for men and opted for a more sober style. And it had nothing to do with not wanting to be gender fluid but more with the man being considered as the bread winner, the subject that had to work. Suits in black and white, low shoes made for walking and coats in dark colours cemented the new sober working man. It’s the same as today but now it is the womans turn, at last. A lot of male designers just had this idea of creating this sexy and dynamic woman who almost always has to show skin but no more. A new wave of female designers have changed that and are creating this new woman who can wear practical yet glamorous fashion without the need to be ostentatious all the time. Stilettos aren’t needed, heavy make up is no longer key and there is a relaxedness that gives of the feeling of a je ne sais quoi look.
Returning to my personal view about menswear I would like to explain more with what I meant in my earlier statement. I believe that the gender issue is at question of course, unisex is here. But I believe that in the long term the genderfluidity fashion is more of a sustainable question at heart and not just about subject matters of gender and sexuality. Personally I have many homosexual male friends who by society norms are believed to be more effeminate than the general straight man. But the truth is a lot of them ( the ones I’m friends with) are not interested in womens clothes because they want to be a woman. I believe they wish to be more dynamic. Because men as well as women can be dynamic too. For me as I understand it they’re perhaps drawn to femininity because that female attribute alows one to be more dynamic. And lest we not forget the rise of men who shop the latest menswear in our western society. A lot of straight men are seeking for something more. I don’t think they’re seeking to be more like a woman, I think they are looking for clothes that are unconventional, break rules and barriers, and that tells stories. Whatever is effeminate is moving and changing and it is clear that men as we know them are changing. Even a lot of straight men are yearning to dress and reflect themselves as more dynamic. More men today are staying at home and taking care of their babies, you even have a #heforshe project and so on. Of course I’m not excluding the fact that we still live in a patriarch society but it is honest to admit that a lot of men regardless of sexuality are changing their ways of being and that affects their role through fashion as well.
Today we live in a time where men and women have switched roles. Men used to dress more sober and women were always displayed to be dynamic and frivolous. Now It’s the opposite. The woman is practical, straightforward, she is independent and strong but with a raw edge. She is flawed at heart and dresses in tailored suits without the need to compromise with her femininity. The man is more dynamic, colorful, vunerable and exposed to beauty again. He becomes strong in the ability to look weak through clothes.
We live in a more realistic time, from now on women, men , non-binary can all be considered as weak, and that for me is real strength. Looking towards the future of fashion, it looks bright, i believe it’s moving towards a new sustainable way of existing.