Gender Bender: The Cultural Shift Towards Gender Fluidity

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Man skirts have now become a regular sighting on the runway, but as the gender-fluid phenomenon continues to evolve, many designers are making a convincing argument for a not-so-distant future where men will turn up to the office wearing skirts. Now more than ever, major fashion houses as well as young designers are weighing in on society’s hottest topic with their own unique take on gender fluid clothing. “What we’re seeing now,” says Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, “is a seismic shift in fashion, a widening acceptance of a style with no boundaries, one that reflects the way young people dress.”


Fashion provacateur John Galliano, who presented his first mens’ collection for Maison Margiela this spring, opened up a whole new dialogue about masculinity and the evolving landscape in menswear. His unrestricted foray into haute couture territory is pushing the boundaries of traditional menswear. “I hope it’s going to define a new sensuality, and a new sexuality,” says Galliano.


Another designer who has forged a new identity for Gucci is Alessandro Michele, who has featured models of both sexes wearing women’s clothes from the same collection. Michele’s gender fluid collections have helped to spark a global shift in retail shopping causing Gucci profits to soar. Why shouldn’t a man be able to wear the same pussy-bow blouse as a woman? Michele’s winning formula has captured the attention of high street, forcing department stores to take notice.


Thom Browne’s high-brow fashion label has always centered around a core aesthetic: “the cropped suit” for men. For Spring 2018, he took it a step further introducing tailored sheath dresses and skirts suits for men. Browne’s collection suggests that there is no pale beyond which men should ever feel prohibited from dressing.


Palomo Spain is yet another young designer who has taken non-gendered clothing to another level. His menswear collections continue to subvert the traditional notions of masculinity. From flamenco-ruffled kaftans to feathered skirts and ruffled dresses, the designer infuses each of his garments with a heavy dose of drama. Then there’s Alessandro Trincone, a young Italian designer whose tiered white gowns and glittery silver metallic pieces transported the audience to a disco-infused, high-fashion world. Young Thug, a self-proclaimed legendary “gangster,” who wore Trincone’s iconic blue dress in one of his videos claims that “when it comes to style, there’s no gender involved.”


See More Gender-Bending on the Runways


More gender bending at Palomo Spain Fall 2018 and Maison Margiela Spring 2019

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