Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flashback of the Moment: Gender Bender

The house of Prada is long known for reinvigorating fashion. She has played with minimalism, projected alternative future couture, toyed with fantasy, redefined "the jet set." And until Fall-Winter 08, reinvented gender.

Her Fall 08 menswear collection shocked some, awed some, and put some in confusion. Why in the world would men wear a tutu-like skirt, a halter-looking vest, and a belt that closely resembles a bikini bottom or in the words of one editor, a "chastity belt?"

I intitially considered the collection a shocker. It is very unconventional--it is definitely not your typical shirt-and-pants ensemble. But I also considered it as a creative and imaginative pursuit. Who would have thought that men--in Prada's world or possibly in another dimension--could wear halter tops? be effeminate and fragile? be the new woman?

Miuccia Prada could be sending a message, you know. She may be suggesting that fashion is so tired of being a one-way street: an institution that favors women as the primary object of attention, and the primary customer. She seems to ask what could make menswear as inventive and avante-garde as womenswear.

Then again, she could be proposing that men discover their feminine side.

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