Feminizing Menswear?

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“Raf Simons Spring 2014 Menswear,” Images courtesy of Yannis Vlamos, Style.com, 2013.

Raf Simons, currently the creative director for Christian Dior, released a menswear collection for his self-titled line featuring unique silhouettes: long tunics paired with short shorts, loose and sagging shorts that seemed to borrow its shape from the skirt.

Reactions towards the gender-bending collection were mixed. A New York Times blogger revered the “sporty shirt dress” and “girlish polo knits” as “airy, unconstrained, versatile clothes” for teen boys and young men in their 20’s. On the other hand, some Youtube users labelled the collection as “hardly wearable to the average person” and “too close to being feminine-looking” in comments on a short video of the show posted by Style.com.

Despite others’ continuous references to the collection’s “femininity,” Raf Simons himself described his inspiration as based on infant clothes – “the ultimate opposite” of the current “artificiality” of the world. In his attempts to recreate the gender-neutral innocence of infancy in adult men, Simons seems to suggest that masculinity and femininity are standards learned later in life, as members of society.

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