PARIS — Sexy is back with a vengeance, but with a looser grip on gender.
While the likes of London-based Mowalola and Casey Cadwallader at Mugler flaunt the female form with empowered gusto, it’s men’s wear designers who are making the strongest case for skin baring, particularly in Paris. A daring clutch of emerging names are showing a taste for provocative dressing and an enviable symbiotic relationship with their customers through social media.
“When I design clothes, I don’t think in terms of gender [or lack thereof]. I just make clothes that hopefully people connect to and feel free to wear,” said Spanish designer Arturo Obegero, who makes his Paris Men’s fashion week debut on Jan. 23. “Calling them unisex is just creating another label and putting people in boxes.”
According to fashion historian Florence Müller, the curator of Fashion & Textile Art at the Denver Art Museum, so much sexy is emanating from men’s wear because gender boundaries are being questioned. “Combining irrefutably masculine bodies with feminine garments says ‘I refuse the prison of gender’,” she said.
Groundwork for genderless dressing was laid down as far back as the Sixties by avant-garde designers Pierre Cardin and Rudi Gernreich.