Love List

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fashion and Sex

Don't get me wrong. I love fashion. But I don't love the things associated with fashion, namely the backstabbing, the painfully thin girls, the sexual harassment or exploitation of models by *ahem* certain photographers etc...
However, one thing which used to repulse me, but and now accept gladly is the presence of transsexuals in fashion, and of course, in our community.
When I was young, I thought that transsexuals were perverse people who relishes in acting the opposite sex. But then, now I recognize that transsexuals are brave people because they're the ones who made the bravest choices. It's not their fault that they were born to be a girl in a boy's body or vice versa. It's hard to take that first step and declare a sex change because of the way society rejects such people as freaks. (But then again, our society rejects any abnormalities as freaks, it's how nature works.) I imagine that even a lot of their close friends and family would have trouble accepting that their friend, whom they have taken to be a man/woman all along, has suddenly turned into the opposite sex. So I'm glad that at least transsexualism and androgyny are constantly featured in fashion spreads, as this will somewhat diminish the social stigma associated with such people.

I'd like to think the first tendencies towards androgyny actually came from the feminist movement, and many designers took their ideas from the street and started designing suits, pants and ties for women. Prominent designers include Chanel, who wore mens clothes in an era of aristocratic French society where women wore elaborate hats, structured dresses with corsets and piled on tons of pearls. She introduced her famous Chanel suit of a tweed jacket paired with a blouse and a knee length skirt in 1923. Later on, YSL, introduced the famous Le Smoking suit, and Giorgio Armani built his entire design philosophy based on menswear inspired suits for women. And even till now, such attire is frequently seen on the runway, recently championed by some of Phoebe Philo's minimalistic designs. Such suits empowered women, changed the roles associated with the two genders and encouraged women to work.

Chanel suits
YSL Le Smoking suit - photographed by Helmut Newton for Vogue Paris
Stefano Pilati's reinterpretations of YSL Le Smoking suit S/S09
Giorgio Armani S/S 03
And it was not just women borrowing from men's wardrobes, but the men did it too! Marc Jacobs is infamous for wearing his kilts and cross dressing. So did the late Alexander McQueen.

Androgynous models such as Aggy Deyn and Andrej Pejic were preferred because of their combination of both mens and womens characteristics.

The fashion world loves androgyny- characterized by an individual possessing both feminine and masculine traits. Appealing to both sexes is beneficial to fashion designers who love to show the versatility of clothes and accessories. - Quoted from

Hottest transsexual model of the moment is Lea T., born Leo to a Brazilian soccer hero father. Lea burst into the scene after being casted in Givenchy's F/W 10 ad campaign. Lea also posed nude for Vogue Paris, before her sex change operation. (not posting it here cos I don't want my blog to be flagged for nudity photos, if you want to see the spread and interview, just google it.)

Ricardo Tisci (creative director of Givenchy) said, "She's always been very feminine: superfragile, very aristocratic." He added that including a transgendered person in his campaign illustrates the "masculine-feminine dichotomy" he is now known for. - Quoted from Huffington Post

More food for thought: Bold Crossings of the Gender Line

What do you think? Do you feel that androgyny and the feature of transsexual models are actually good for the LGBT community, or do you feel that the fashion industry is just using this as yet another fad, for the shock value or to simply show off their clothes better since androgynous models are able to appeal to both genders?


  1. keep the inspiration coming!
    you've got a good blog, and i'll be back for sure!
    happy new year from COSMICaroline to you!
    come visit COSMICaroline to see revamped outfits and a new photographer coming soon!


  2. Hi! what a great post! am so glad I found your blog :) I want to follow you but the thing doesn`t work, so will tweet your post <3 Anika

  3. @Anika

    Hi Anika! Thanks for your comment. You can either follow my blog through bloglovin' or subscribe via email at the sidebar on the right.

    Or you can also follow using google friend connect (:

  4. I love Lea T. I just picture her in that gorgeous Givenchy couture gown, the one split up the center with the beading and feathers... I think Natasha Poly modeled it in the actual show and Natalia Vodianova wore it to Roberto Cavalli's 40th anniversary party. Following your blog now :)

  5. @The Haute Hoosier

    Aww thanks for following!

    Yup I loved that Givenchy couture collection. When I saw that collection in such an intimate setting, I almost mistook it for Alexander McQueen at first glance.

    It had such amazing and intricate details.

  6. TERRY RICHARDSON! Let's name him. He who egotistically preys on vulnerable teenage girls. I think he's scum and a detriment to the fashion sphere. The opposite of Nick Knight who brings such light and love to the medium of fashion photography.

    Kudos to you for recognizing your previous bias against trannies and getting over it. They are no different than us! Everybody is the same.

  7. Amazing pictures!

  8. Very thought-provoking.
    I think it's hard for the fashion industry to make any move like this without it being considering a cynical one - I remember how opinion was divided about the promotion of certain black models to the exclusion of white ones. I suspect if the industry appeared to embrace a wider idea of beauty generally, then it would be regarded more optimistically...

  9. @Mrs Bossa

    Yeah I think so too. The fashion industry as a market in itself was pioneered by a few individuals (which includes YSL, Karl Lagerfeld etc) that were fixated on IMAGE and BEAUTY.

    So even until today, a lot of things still remain unchanged. It was always about a certain look or vision that they had for one person.


I would love to see what you say!