Zara’s latest “genderless” collection was phenomenally boring. Or…we could call it spectacularly underwhelming! How about, incredibly unimaginative? Whatever – I just need you to believe me when I say that I was so so excited to see what they might offer, and then found myself tut-tutting with my arms crossed like a frustrated mother.
Dear Zara: It doesn’t count as “genderless” if it’s just women wearing poorly cut menswear.
One of the Zanita Studio staff (whose name shall be withheld from this particularly spicy post) even went and tried on a few pieces and said she was “really disappointed”. Women come in all different shapes and sizes, and fashion has long been trying to fit us into one: a column. I like to imagine I’m, let’s say, a triangle. Doesn’t matter how hard you bash a triangle against a square hole. She won’t fit. Read my metaphor: most women don’t appreciate poorly designed track pants and muscle tees.
So let’s talk about something way more exciting: Alessandro Michele taking Gucci’s gender-neutral outlook to the next level.
They’ve been sending women down the menswear runway, and more importantly, men down the women’s runway for a little while now. Michele says the fashion being all mixed up is “the way I see the world today” and the only real reason I take his word for it is because they cast Hari Nef and a few other transgender models for their shows.
I mean, that’s gotta be the apex of where we’re all heading, right? That there’s one runway and all the people coming down are a mix of men, women, and trans, and punters stop trying to guess which is which and just enjoy the damn show.
Fashion has been creeping up to an exciting genderless climax since women started wearing pants back in the 1920s. Yves Saint Laurent officially put suits on the map for “fashionable” ladies in the 1960s. Gaultier’s skirt for men debuted in 1984 and that was a truly exciting leap. Men still aren’t widely allowed, or encouraged, to wear skirts. Why? Because skirts are for women and it would be embarrassing to wear something a woman is supposed to wear. It’s not embarrassing for a woman to wear pants though. I’m going to just leave that thought with you to finish.
The thing is, we are in a super exciting new time! Louis Vuitton put Jaden Smith in its Spring womenswear ad campaign, and that is a huge message to send out to the next generation of consumers. Honestly, I think that’s why Zara’s collection made me so cranky.
It takes time for trends to trickle down from the runways to the streets. And I don’t mean fur-lined loafers – I mean attitudes.
Hari Nef is revered on the runway, but on the streets, transgender people still suffer extreme prejudice and violence on a daily basis. Zara’s capsule was their opportunity to offer a stepping stone for genderless approaches to not only fashion, but life! They had an opportunity to take a haute couture vision of an egalitarian future, and sell it to the masses. They took that opportunity and made spectacularly underwhelming track pants.
Praise be to Gucci, the savior of the future of genderless fashion. Maybe their 2017 show will be the apex we’re all waiting for.