Hers and his

#Legend - - AUTUMN / WINTER 2017 -

FOR AS LONG as I can re­mem­ber, fash­ion weeks have been di­vided be­tween the gen­ders. Shows of wom­enswear and menswear are some­times months apart. Each sort of show has a par­tic­u­lar fol­low­ing among fash­ion con­nois­seurs, ed­i­tors, buy­ers and front-row celebri­ties. For decades af­ter the word “uni­sex” was coined, it was unimag­in­able that the sep­a­rate clans could ever oc­cupy the same space. Men were men and women were women, and gen­der dic­tated what each wore.

Yet the his­tory of fash­ion is full of ex­am­ples of cloth­ing as­so­ci­ated with one sex be­ing worn by the other. Coco Chanel made waves when she re­fused to con­form with the con­ven­tions of fem­i­nin­ity and dressed her mod­els an­drog­y­nously in suits and blaz­ers. De­mand for wom­enswear that looked like menswear was am­pli­fied by celebri­ties such as Marlene Di­et­rich and Kather­ine Hep­burn.

De­sign­ers other than Chanel an­swered this call for free­dom from the norms dic­tated by gen­der.

Yves Saint Lau­rent cre­ated the suit he called

Le Smok­ing. Gior­gio Ar­mani made the power suit pop­u­lar among women. Women pushed back the lim­its to what they could wear while re­tain­ing their fem­i­nin­ity.

Since then, women have pushed back the lim­its to what women can wear fur­ther than men have pushed back the lim­its to what men can wear. But men are catch­ing up. Boys are bor­row­ing skinny jeans from their girl­friends, men are swing­ing Birkin bags, and an­drog­y­nous male mod­els are strut­ting their stuff in Ba­len­ci­aga, Saint Lau­rent, Vete­ments and Vivi­enne West­wood.

Con­sumers no longer care whether a gar­ment or ac­ces­sory is in­tended for the op­po­site sex. So why should de­sign­ers de­sign clothes and sched­ule their shows as if con­sumers do care? A grow­ing num­ber of brands are blur­ring the dis­tinc­tions be­tween menswear and wom­enswear, and be­tween menswear shows and wom­enswear shows. And they have be­gun to gather a united tribe of fol­low­ers of fash­ion who ap­pre­ci­ate what can be worn by both sexes.

In keep­ing with the times, the #leg­end re­view of the au­tumn/win­ter col­lec­tions this year is con­fined to shows put on by de­sign­ers that in­tend their cre­ations to be worn by ei­ther sex, whether the cre­ation is de­lib­er­ately uni­sex or whether it is a gar­ment of a type usu­ally worn by women adapted for men to wear. Here are the best 10 uni­sex col­lec­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Hong Kong

© PressReader. All rights reserved.