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Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer and couturier renowned for her futuristic, fantastical styles. Van Herpen’s designs are quite unique and works of art in themselves. Her early adoption of 3D printing technologies placed her in the vanguard of the technology’s introduction into fashion.
The designer writes on her website, “for me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool.”
Herpen has no specific designs in mind when she sets out to make a garment. Rather, the designer says her process if much more like a labyrinth whereby she hits a series of dead ends, never quite knowing where she will end up. This, she says, is what creation and working with your hands is all about.
The 30-year-old’s designs are prized by eccentric celebrities such as Björk, Tilda Swinton, Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness.
androgynous ~ partly male and partly female in appearance; of indeterminate sex
Some may argue that the rise in popularity of androgynous models is due in part to the very unisex fashion being produced and metrosexual, free lifestyles that have become more popular and acceptable in the last 10 years. The fashion industry as we see it in the media always aims to project the future on us and perhaps the future is far less black and white then what we think.
In today’s post we feature some of the top androgynous models in the fashion scene today:
Born in the Ukraine but living most of his life in Israel its hard to believe that Fashion Model Stav Strashko is in fact a man. Exceptionally feminine in appearance Stav says, “Most people in fashion assume I’m a girl.”, “I really don’t care. Many of my friends address me as ‘she.’ Sometimes, I address myself as a ‘she’ too. I swear, I really don’t care—you can call me whatever you’re comfortable with.” Interestingly, Stav still identifies as a man and has not undergone any sexual reassignment surgery like many other androgynous models.
Andrej Pejic was born a boy in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a few months before the Bosnian War and had to flee to a refugee camp near Belgrade for safety. After the NATO-led bombing began in 1999, Andrej and her family emigrated to Melbourne, Australia. From an early age Andrej identified as a girl and has recently completed her gender-confirmation surgery. Now a successful model, she has modelled for designers such Marc Jacobs and Gaultier where she worked in the male and female fashion shows.
But attractive, feminine men are not the only androgynous models making it big in the fashion world. Harmony Boucher, a Londoner, female model but with just enough masculine features to make you pause – is a top model and singer with a band called ‘Vuvuvultures’. The advantage of being a androgynous model is that you can model as a man or a woman – and with modelling jobs difficult enough to come by this can only be seen as a positive.
When Swedish model Erika Linder was asked about modelling in both woman’s and men’s fashion ranges she responded ‘I love that since it brings out so much more of who I am. Also, I think I would be so bored doing only female modelling stuff. I’d like to keep a balance.’ When asked if being mistaken for a boy bothered her Erika responded ‘I wouldn’t call it a problem but yet, basically through my whole life so far, people have mistaken me for being a boy. But its funny because I get to go to the men’s bathroom, which I see as a benefit when the girls bathroom always has a line.’
It seems the trend set by the fashion industry a few years ago is here to stay and with equality finally becoming accessible to various gender and sexual orientations around the world – it only makes sense that we should start to see more beautiful models and people in everyday life who cross the gender rules we’ve become accustomed to.
We’ve collected images of some of the most stunning androgynous models out there. See if you can figure out their gender?
Montreal-based photographer Martin Tremblay, also known as ‘Pinch’ created this beautiful series of images featuring models upside down, set in an Asian location. Martin manages to successfully capture each models as graceful while maintaining these strange position. The pastel tones with vibrant focus colours are truly effective and re-enforce the mystical, yet elegant feeling in this collection. The series was developed as an editorial for Schön! Magazine in London.
Undergarments as we know them today were first sold to promote cleanliness and improve the comfort of wearing clothing. The idea that they one day would be considered fashionable was not even a thought. Today underwear is marketed and sold just as much as the clothing we cover them with.
Underwear advertisements started as early as 1880’s but didn’t show any underwear, only text, then when images started being included, only classical statues with undergarments superimposed over them, or dressed people holding underwear up in front of them were shown. The early 1900’s included illustrations of women and men wearing underwear and only once photographic images took off in advertising did we see the first models very modestly modelling the latest undergarments.
Calvin Klein revolutionised underwear advertising in the early 80’s by adding sex appeal to the advertisements. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that we started seeing men and women together in underwear ads. The last 13 years have seen underwear and lingerie advertising take some momentous risks. Celebrities have taken advantage of the publicity that comes with posing near nude in your underwear for the public to admire. Celebs like Eva Medes, Cristiano Rinaldo, Rihanna, David Beckham and many more have all taken the risk and received valuable publicity and a healthy pay check.
Advertising content has become increasingly controversial and sexual, each year pushing the boundaries. Many campaigns that are banned are launched online or in some countries the sensors take weeks to respond making any censorship and banning pointless. With lingerie and underwear becoming increasingly revealing and micro and advertising exhausting every possible sexual and controversial innuendo it makes a person wonder what next? What is the ultimate new undergarment design and how else can it possibly be advertised to capture the publics attention in the future?
Today we admire the many looks which are Echo Nittolitto. With a name like this its little surprise this fashion model is so interesting. This American model from Florida who uses her modelling as an art form and means of expression has travelled the world and been featured in many of the fashion catalogs such as Italian Vogue. She had this to say about modelling: “At first I really enjoyed the idea of seeing myself in the photos and knowing that I was capable of doing those things, but that was when I wasn’t very self confident. As I gained confidence it became more about the creator and the over all image itself. What was the creator trying to convey? And how would I myself convey this? I love it when a team can come together and all be on the same page and make an image memorable.”