Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, because it’s OK to be a boy, but for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, because you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly you’d love to know what it’s like, wouldn’t you? What it feels like for a girl?” –Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Cement Garden, 1993.
It’s inevitable for fashion designers to want to break all gender rules, but until recently, those rules have only applied to womenswear. We see girls play with men’s proportions, but in modern menswear it’s been rare to see men adopt women’s fashion – until now. For the past few seasons J.W. Anderson has been testing gender boundaries in his menswear shows and for Autumn/Winter 2013 collection he wanted to shove androgyny down every orifice of your body. There were dresses, shorts and riding boots with ruffles, even bustiers with pockets; all in muted neutrals with accented hues in blue and orange. As a young designer, Anderson seems to understand that even designers who insist on celebrating androgynous codes have been playing it safe in menswear. It’s great to see someone foreseeing a refreshing direction for men’s fashion, even if it does initially shock.