The presence of gender bending beauties in mainstream advertisements and catwalks proves how ideas surrounding gender “normalities” and “ideals” have changed dramatically over the last few years. But, of course, nothing in fashion is ever completely new. As I’ve been exploring throughout this research gender bending has been an “it” thing for quite some time.
Todd Oldham used to use transvestite Billy Beyond in his fashion shows. Joey Arias, also a transvestite, modelled frequently for Thierry Mugler in the late 1980s and is still a fashion muse. In the 1960s, April Ashley modelled for British Vogue and was photographed by David Bailey and Lord Snowden before her transsexual status was revealed in the tabloid press. Back then, it killed her career. Then there was Candy Darling, who became an actress and muse to Andy Warhol and, a decade later, transgender model and muse to Stephen Sprouse, Teri Toye. The “It” girl of the 1990s was Connie Girl, also a transsexual. Jenny Shimizu [the model Angelina Jolie was rumoured to have an affair with] was in a lot of campaigns in the 1990s. No one could tell whether she was a man or a woman. And no one really cared.
Nonetheless, I think it’s just grand that current magazine and fashion designers are including and celebrated those who are within the trans community and are continuing to blur gender “norms”. And Love Magazines Androgyny Issue did just that! Love Magazine released 4 covers. One of Kate Moss alone channelling a little Bowie and heroin chic; another of Lea T in an angelic pose; the next featured both Kate Moss and Lea T in a deep kiss, lensed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot with the headline “This is hard core” and finally an image of a pretty Justin Bieber titled, “The Beautiful One”, celebrating the soft man aspect of androgyny. This cover fuelled a blog of lesbians that are rampant gender benders and resemble Justin Bieber! Go check it out: Lesbians who look just like Justin Bieber.
This issue of LOVE Magazine proves that fashion and beauty ideologies are changing. Mainstream mass media seems to be embracing more diverse individuals but what’s more individuals with alternative gender identities like never before. It’s a really exciting thing to see and has inspired me to continue in my pursuit to create beautiful photographs of individuals that represent each and every aspect of the gender spectrum. Inspired!
Telegraph (N.D) Fashion Blurs Gender Boundaries [online] available from<http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG8214923/Fashion-blurs-gender-boundaries.html> (1st June 2014)