The Joy of Unisex

Suddenly the whole world is unisex. Or is it androgynous? Transitioning? However you chop it, Vivienne Westwood has long espoused the concept. In her fall men’s collection, she trotted out a number of women in men’s garb, along with a spate of other houses. Now Westwood is making it official with a collaboration with Opening Ceremony, under her iconic Worlds End label.


The capsule collection of reworked archival Worlds End pieces reflects the gloriously inglorious history of the London boutique she founded in 1971, formerly known as Let It Rock, SEX, Seditionaries, and Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die. This was homebase for Westwood as she forged her signature punk-rebel-dandy look — with its utter disregard for gender, among other formalities — along with Malcolm McLaren. If crossdressing was a taboo, they were there to break it.

Reimagined pieces include that most important of Seditionaries items, the Anarchy shirt (1976), as well as the Savage sweater (1982), the Clint Eastwood bomber (1983), Pirate trousers (1981), and Tongue sneakers (1983), thought to be the first sneaker shown on a runway. “When we started to do punk,” said the Dame, “we put all of these things together to create the look of an urban guerrilla — a rebel. It was a creation that evolved through our shop. I think it was the first time people saw clothes like ours.”

The collaboration comes on the heels of an unusual announcement from Selfridges, that it’s launching a space called Agender in mid-March. The retailer’s London flagship on Oxford Street will replace its distinct men’s and women’s departments with three floors of unisex clothing, beauty and accessories. It’s also doing away with male and female mannequins.

Another champion of men in dresses, London designer Jonathan Anderson has been a force for gender-blending for several seasons with his J.W. Anderson label. Quieter than Westwood, though no less radical, Anderson effectively channels the shock of seeing a flouncy mini-skirt on a man’s albeit ectomorphic body on the runway — enough to catch the attention of LVMH, who’ve installed him at the helm of the Spanish label Loewe.

Inspired by their own grooming rituals, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford have both introduced unisex cosmetics of late, ranging from lip balm to brow mousse. They share the opinion that men should be able to openly peruse and purchase make-up without embarrassment or ridicule. Would they earn more in the process? Definitely. However the sentiment seems genuine.

Meanwhile, it’s full steam ahead for Brooklyn’s own sexless label, Hood By Air, which has not only been picked up by Barneys, but launched an e-store of its own. HBA joins a raft of other labels that have long embraced gender-less dressing: Jean Paul Gaultier, Acne Studios, Gareth Pugh, Rad Hourani, and the footwear label Underground.


Vivienne Westwood Worlds End X Opening Ceremony


Vivienne Westwood Worlds End X Opening Ceremony


Vivienne Westwood Worlds End X Opening Ceremony


J.W. Anderson


J.W. Anderson

 


 


J.W. Anderson


J.W. Anderson


Rad Hourani


Rad Hourani


Rad Hourani


Rad Hourani


Rad Hourani


Gareth Pugh


Gareth Pugh

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