Thursday, December 27, 2012

READing Your Style: Androgynous models who ignore the gender rules

Casey Legler (35), being represented by Ford Model's Male Board as of November 2012
Last month, Homa Khaleeli, writer for the UK's Guardian, insinuated this past November that fashion may be showing signs that the fashion world is opening its arms to reflect the diversity of our bodies. As she mentioned in the article, Agyness Deyn, is one supermodel whose androgynous look has made her quite dynamic in the fashion world, a model who made headlines this year for her masculine features was Ford model, Casey Legler, who is actually signed to the agency as the first female added to the men's board. I found this news very impacting because as Legler says:

"We have very strict ways in which we identify ourselves as men or women and I think that those can sometimes be limiting … Seeing me on the men's board … speaks to a notion of freedom, you know. There's something really bold about that … it's saying there is also this other way and it's really rad."

Khaleeli also posed the question of whether this type of development in modeling is the "latest fad to provide shock value."She  threw around the names Lea T and Andrej Pejic as examples of models who have crossed over to appealing to women's wear, as Lea T is a successful transsexual model, and Andrej Pejic, a male model, has become a dresses muse for designers like Jean Paul Gaultier. I was amused by Liu Xianping, the 72 year old grandfather who models for his teen granddaughter's online fashion company, Yecoo. In the New York Daily News, he says of his modeling women's clothes: "Why unacceptable (for someone like me to wear women’s clothes ? Modeling for the store is helping my granddaughter and I have nothing to lose," he said "I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy." Camilla Nickerson, Vogue  Contributing Editor, said fashion reports on the world at large, and the acceptance of such radical sartorial expressions in fashion shows a proliferation in our culture that speaks towards the fact that there are many types of people. Our history as a people is so expansive and we are all able to draw many influences for our views on life and, in my fashion, we all should feel free to express exactly who we are when we walk down the street.

Liu Xianping, the 72 year old grandfather who models for his teen granddaughter's online fashion company, Yecoo.

In my fashion, globalization has defined this generation as one that doesn't look to conform to traditional social constructs. Legler exemplifies a new "sexy" women of our time, which are these women of today who wear men's clothes as a part of who they are, namely lesbians. Women can feel comfortable to appeal to other females now a days, and there is a market for these women in fashion, especially if they wish to pay top dollar for quality, designer pieces. Its funny when I look at Legler's Ford portfolio online I am astounded by how her masculine appeal comes across so crystal clear and without knowing she's a women, she certainly translates the sexiness of a man. Her jaw, her shoulders, boxy frame, her musculature is all so strongly defined, and as a women, they are what make her, "her". But there is more to it than simply her look, because there is air of a certain attitude, like that "carefree strength" of a man—an "I don't have to try hard to be tough" aura. I love the lines her feminine body makes in such a natural masculine sensibility. Underneath Legler's sharp masculine edges, I am drawn into her photos because she still emotes the depth of a women. Although her womanly appeal is not apparent, but as Pablo Picasso says, "The hidden harmony is better than the obvious." In my fashion, the last photo (shown below) of her portfolio where she wears a distressed camel shirt and shorts combo with red accents is very emblematic of this notion.

In my fashion, the growing cultural acceptance of cross-dressing, transexuality, and experimentation of sexual expression ushers a new level of self-discovery. People should not be limited from exploring who they are, and if have a particular interest I don't feel persons should be restricted from doing what they can do best. If you don't know what you don't like, how will you know what you do like and what works for you. I come from the understanding that we are all a mixture of different qualities and its our duty to find out what are our strongest qualities are so we can contribute to other people's lives in a most positive fashion. Positivity comes in many forms, and one never knows when or where a blessing will come to them. I think it wise not to assume that a man can't do what a women can do, and vice versa. In the aforementioned instances of models modeling for the opposite sex, the brands that recognized their specific appeal and exploited their talent have made positive gains for those businesses in marketing, revenues, and press. In my fashion, the demographic of people who can relate to these images is growing. "Fashion is a reflection of the times," right? Those men turned out to be the right people for the job, as shown by sales figures and press, and Legler proves to do just as good a job as men. In my fashion, while the trend turns out to be a lucrative marketing ploy, the fact that these images are becoming more popular and proliferated is what will make the trend more socially acceptable.

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