By Margretta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags
It’s not hard to spot a beautiful person. I’m convinced the world is full of them.
Man, woman, child. Caramel, chocolate, vanilla… yes, even ice cream flavours can be beautiful. There’s a formula to most things, a science for the way we work. When talking about Fashion what we are addressing is aesthetics; the emotional and sensory feelings we have to something. A wedding dress is a perfect example. The emotional feeling attached to a wedding dress makes it aesthetically pleasing, generally speaking. With that being said, beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder, and the same goes for opinions.
What makes fashion so exciting is its influence within culture and society. This is the only platform where being an odd beauty is commercially sellable – the kooky, quirky, avant-garde and weird (I say these with quotation fingers). Without the appreciation of subcultures we wouldn’t have websites like DAZED, I-D and Oyster Mag. I’m not just talking about models and designers with an ‘edge’. I mean trailblazers like fashion reporter and Diesel campaign model, Jillian Mercado, who has muscular dystrophy. Daphne Selfe is a 60 plus stunner, still earning top dollar in a world obsessed with youth – grey haired, fine lined and teeth better than most. Amazon Eve (otherwise known as Erika Ervin), the tallest model in the world at 6’8’’… sidebar: I would feel a certain type of way if I was in the cubicle next to her. If I were her height I would be tempted to take the piss every now and then. Wouldn’t you? Just saying.
These women are not what would be called conventionally beautiful. Whether it is ageism, the power of privilege or stereotyping particular features, society is quick to ignore and criticize anything that is perceived as a threat to established cultural norms. The fashion industry has embraced subcultures like no other industry can, despite having a capitalist and elitist mentality. In this bubble we are able to challenge aesthetics (to a certain degree) and hold a mirror to all our unique worlds – from the lame and the limber – for relation.
Woman like a man, like a woman like a man
Everyone is talking about the trans-[insert title] community at the moment; women wanting to be men, men wanting to be women and children just wanting to be taken seriously – insert Kylie Jenner. Conventional roles are changing; people are liberated by different channels. A good example is Casey Legler. Casey a female who models menswear, exclusively. This 35 year old American (born in France) woman is also an established artist and ex-Olympian swimmer… Anyone else feel they should up their Linkedin game?
Ms Legler has been signed by Ford Modelling Agency for men. Ford Models are the world’s leading talent management, with a portfolio of models like Naomi Campbell, Beverly Johnson, Janice Dickenson and Brooke Shield. Casey is no doubt a woman of beauty, but her unique style was not maximised until photographer and friend, Cass Bird, placed Casey in a photoshoot originally cast for a no-show male model. This began Ms Legler’s journey into male modelling. Fortunately her strong jaw line and androgynous features made an impact on editors and designers.
Another Ford model making bold statements is Elliott Sailors. This blonde bombshell, according to The New York Post, was on Bacardi billboards globally before her work load began to drop. At 31 Elliott made a decision – she gave herself a ballsy makeover, cutting her long blonde locks in hopes of success within the male model arena. Elliott told the New York Post; “I’m starting over to have a longer career […] Men don’t need to look as young as possible, so I have a lot of time.” If you are wondering how she hides her… accessories, Elliot assures she binds her breasts and accentuates her strong jaw line for maximum effect. She also said, on a more personal note, no one (except her husband) opens the door for her anymore, assuming she is male because of her appearance. As disappointing as that is to hear, she doesn’t need to worry – or anyone else for that matter. She can open or close her own doors and so can you. She doesn’t need a man – or a woman dressed like a man, dressed like a woman, who is actually is a man – to tell her boo. #yesallwomen
There is no denying it would be a different sunny day in Sydney if I opened Harpers Bazaar and saw an advertorial, two page spread with a man selling a female handbag – I don’t care how sexy he is. This includes you, Tyson Beckford. Even your aesthetically pleasing chocolate self won’t convince me to part with my money for your bag. It is yet to make sense in my head though I’m sure over time we will be desensitised to most things. On a serious note, besides visual concerns, there are obvious proportion issues when a female wears men’s clothing… extra pockets are not needed when women have handbags, boy/friends and a decent bra – to keep your phone, lipstick, lighter and pen close to the action.
The way I see it, If men are okay with buying and relating to clothes modelled by a woman – who is no longer projecting feminity (let’s face it, men can be a little clueless at times) – then we have come a long way in society. We aren’t there yet, not by a long shot, but the streets have been talking and we eventually will have no choice but to listen. That in itself is a strangely beautiful thing.