Gender and Identity

Are Feminine Silhouettes the Future of Mens Fashion?

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Designers are increasingly morphing and blurring the lines between males and females. In the silhouettes, cut and fabrics they use. Fashion design giants including Vivienne Westwood, Burberry and Jean Paul Gaultier have all designed skirts for men in a way to push boundaries and explore ideas. The fashion industry in itself has to be exciting and constantly developing new concepts and silhouettes.

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  Men’s Fashion Week in London saw much controversy over the garments that designers chose to show on the catwalk, particularly JW Anderson. His Autumn Winter 13 collection was dominated by feminine inspired shorts, shift dresses and shell tops in colours of camel, navy and baby blue. Although the collection itself caused controversy in what the models were actually wearing the fabrics; sponge,rubberised cotton and duffel are not controversial textures. Duffle in particular is an extremely traditional and classic fabric to use within menswear. The reaction to Anderson’s collection was immense and the controversy that it caused meant it was shown around the world on news stations including CNN and BBC News.

“Examination of bourgeois kinkiness and boudoir perversity” was how Anderson summed up the collection in his show notes. The fact that sexual and revealing clothing can be shown in womenswear and not mens shows the naivety and uneasy feeling that people still have towards men being dressed in a sexual way. The idea of men wearing clothing like this is just that, ’an idea’, it is presenting a possibility for people and consumers to digest and distil in their own personal way. This ‘idea’ will be filtered down throughout the levels of fashion from designer to high street.  Another reason why people may have felt uneasy about the collection was that all the male models looked and felt like they were comfortable in what each of them where wearing.

JW Anderson Autumn Winter 2013 Look 35

Personally the aspect that I focus on is the technical and precision of all the garments; with the neckline being developed through stapling and the darts being brought towards the front of the garment so the back hovered, like suspended architecture. Jacket blocks were reversed so that the shoulders sat forward creating a smooth, sculptural line. I feel that all these elements were overshadowed by the reaction to the pieces being shown in menswear. JW Anderson is known for bringing over concepts from season to season and from womenswear to mens. This collection was in the end a development and evolutional structure from his previous resort collection.

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