The End of Androgyny

Words by Elizabeth Pollard

As the season’s come and go in the world of fashion, so do fads and trends that spark high street hysteria, sending us all into an over consumerist frenzy. But, despite all the wardrobe mishaps along the way, each decade provides us with a distinctive silhouette that really identifies the era. From drop waists of the 20’s to the rockabilly, full skirt of the 50’s. The 60’s brought us the mini and the 80’s shoulder pads and power dressing. The noughties may have suffered a slight coma but the 10’s have reacted to our social and economic trauma with a more sustainable solution to dressing. Call it what you like, utilitarianism, cleanism, the new tailoring, androgyny, unisex; the distinctive line between a man and a woman’s silhouette is blurring.

One designer championed for her unisex clothes is Paula Gerbase with her label 1205. Having graduated from a degree in womenswear from Central Saint Martins and completing a six year stint in couture tailoring at Kilgour on Saville Row, it could be said Gerbase has educated herself in both the male and female silhouette in order to bring them together in her own clothes. For the last four years, her work has been described as ‘androgynous’ but this season Gerbase expressed a sudden distaste for the word.

Much like challenging the old fashioned notion of feminism, in my mind, androgyny is associated with women wanting to dress like men. Borrowing your boyfriend’s wardrobe is about adopting a man’s identity, not creating a strong feminine one of their own. Gerbase’s aversion to androgyny (in fashion speak) is simply about wanting to define a new silhouette that encompasses both masculine and feminine characteristics.

Related posts: