How fashion adds colors to gender spectrum

The exhibition “Gender Bending Fashion” (opened last week at MFA) features a unique collection of examples that reveal the ground and history of fusion between previously strictly separated gender-centered clothes. As timely as it is, this idea did not appear overnight, instead we already made centuries-long way to the point where it doesn’t matter what gender you are or prefer to be, it matters what you personally like or dislike to wear. This point of freedom does not eliminate your gender identity, but adds the possibilities to the way you would like to highlight yourself. The exhibition begins with a chronological outline, however items are grouped based on the themes. Most of garments are contemporary but there are a few older items that highlight the historical roots of this phenomenon. The first opening dress of “Gender Bending Fashion” is a dress created by an Italian-born designer with Japanese experience and inspiration, Alessandro Trincone. The dress comes from his “Vfiles runaway 7” award- winning collection Annodami that was later used in an album cover photoshoot of rapper Young Thug, thus sparking public debates about men wearing dresses. The novelty of Trincone (@alessandrotrincone ) work is in usage of typical feminine fabrics like shiffon, to dress up men. In my opinion, his work also brings a significant portion of traditions and cultural notes into this high quality fusion. This takes an interesting turn, as with times, conservative traditional clothes is almost gone from wardrobe of our houses. Blending traditions with contemporary concept gives fresh vibes and reminds society about the fact that traditions have more value in our life’s in their contemporary reincarnation instead of their passive existence outside of a daily context. One of the most appreciated dresses at “Gender Bending fashion” is look32 from Viktor & Rolf (@viktorandrolf ) 2003 “One women show” collection. The show was inspired by their muse Tilda Swindon. At the time of show, the collection aimed to dress a modern women in a high couture men-style clothes. “It’s our tenth anniversary already,” said Viktor Horsting. “We wanted to do all our signatures, with the menswear and the couture influences, for an ageless modern woman.” The layered collars are simply timeless. Retrospective look at the show let me think about the idea that was in the air of exhibition but was not said loudly: women began to dress in men- styled clothes way before men began to dress in women- inspired ones. There are many social reasons behind this phenomenon, but I would like to believe that now as a society, we are more flexible in acceptance of new things. At that time, masculine suits for women were intended to create a classic power-suit in order to open doors to men-dominated professional world, hence the androgenic ageless beauty. Indeed, power-suits add seriousness. However, we should keep in mind that in reality, this trend tends to emphasize feminine nature often working as a contrast with shapes of fuller figures. Looks great, but I guess the result is different from the initial intention. What does it means and what we will see in men with women-inspired styles? Will it highlight masculinity or tone down the aggression? Just asking – time will show! •

P.S. dress presentation is one of the key components of the experience, was done by @chelsea_garunay •

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