The European menswear shows for AW15 finished three weeks ago now.
Ever since, I’ve been thinking about gender.
Many of the shows put men in women’s clothing or cloth – most pointedly Gucci.
In my reviews for the FT, it was something of which I was mostly dismissive.
Was I too curmudgeonly?
I normally fall hard for catwalk experimentation.
Maybe it’s to do with the individual hand – it’s something I find convincing when it comes from independents, like Meadham Kirchhoff’s exceptional and much-missed menswear presentations, or the new work of Grace Wales Bonner.
From independents, it has the sense of an individual confronting, challenging and indulging his own gender beliefs.
From a billion dollar conglomerate, it feels more like a styling imposition.
It also seems separate from the way people are wearing clothes today, which is moving towards gender neutrality.
I was in Mexico City the other week, and I overheard an American woman say how, since she’d moved there, she’d stopped wearing heels.
It was 26 degrees there during the day, but cold at night. Most men and women were wearing the same – some sort of jacket, then a vivid coloured top and jeans, with sneakers.
Back in London, I’d been avoiding looking at people’s clothes, because it didn’t seem fair: hot there, cold here, yaboo sucks etcetc.
But then yesterday morning at Columbia Road flower market, I became aware of this same neutrality.
The day after Valentine’s.
Men and women basically dressed the same, especially on the lower half of their bodies.
I started taking photos.
So many women were wearing jeans or leggings and sneakers, I started looking for women dressed like the past.
These two were a juxtaposition. One moment this:
She was the only woman I saw, after an hour of looking, dressed according to old codes of prettification or whatever.
I took a seat outside of Printers & Stationers on Ezra Street – that cobbled courtyard.
More and more neutrality.
Of course there were differences.
Some women were in Uggs or similar.
Others had a slight stack heel on their shoe or boot.
But I was sat there in Cuban heels, so more neutrality.
Mostly, there was balance.
Look at these two.
Don’t you wish I’d moved that blue chair?
I found it fascinating, particularly with women’s shows starting this weekend, and the new glut of very non-neutral street style photos from outside the venues.
Though obviously 99.9% of those actually in the shows will be in sneakers and jeans.
I found the Public School show fascinating for its neutrality.
****UPSIDE DOWN PHOTO ALERT****
+++AS WITH ALL CATWALK PICTURES, I TURN THEM UPSIDE DOWN+++
A women’s look.
(Pics nicked from the glorious style.com)
A men’s look.
Pretty much neutrality.
There was a similar story at Telfar.
Among other craziness.
A women’s look.
A men’s look.
The mass movement in gender, separate from individual experimentation.