Lately the runways are fuming with “smoking” models, literally “smoking” on the runways.
One can see the super-thin models walking in the buff and emanating a “puff” from their perfectly matte or super-glossed pout, depending whether you are at Yves Saint Laurent or Gucci.
I was a bit astounded and bewildered,as I thought to myself, unbeknownst to me, did the Surgeon General revise the much touted cigarette warning? My query was quickly answered in the negative by the omniscient Google.
Then why am I seeing models running rampant on the slicked runways with a cigarette dangling from their lips? From Kate Moss for Louis Vuitton Fall 2011 to Lady Gaga for Mugler show. Melbourne fashion week had models dressed as “women of luxury” with billowing swirls of smoke rising between their delicate lacquered fingers in a smoky salon environment. Cult blogger Bryanboy is seen flaunting a drag from his ciggy.
The most likely reason is that the fashion industry is in a perpetual quest of the next “it” concept; the next “unparalleled” runway show and the next “shock inspiring” campaign. What better way to grab the attention of the consumer than using a prop that is synonymous with notoriety. A prop that can be the subject of much heated debates and is counter-cultural. It truly can be called the “it” prop. (Disclaimer: I am not promoting (or not) cigarettes, but merely analyzing the wide use of cigarette as a prop on runways.)
Another reason for using cigarettes as props is because fashion is cyclical. It is like karma, it is bound to come back. Flares come back, platforms come back, and even big padded shoulders have made a come-back. So, why not cigarettes. This season there has been a surge of the 70s. Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford all have hustled down to the 70s and brought back ideas for their respective lines. And what could be more synonymous with the 70s than smoking.
So, in summary, without making this blog political or for that matter medical by weighing in on the pros and cons (well, mostly cons) of smoking, it is fair to say that the fashion industry is always on the abyss to find ways to “shock.” Sooner or later, we all run out of shock ideas and revert back in time to re-visit old ideas and re-package them.
What will we see next…a model rolling a marijuana joint while walking in Eiffel tower-esque Pierre Hardy heels!! Now that will be trippy, no I mean it in the most literal sense!
Androgynous: having the characteristics or nature of both male and female. (Merriam-Webster dictionary.)
A woman wearing a tailored Savile Row suit, vest, slim tie, crisp white collared shirt, cufflinks, Oxfords, black rimmed eyeglasses and a hat. Hot or not?? If you say NOT, please STOP reading any further and return to your generic, white-bread life.
There is nothing cooler, hotter, more seductive and captivating than a woman wearing an androgynous look. Women probably are attracted to the look as it stems from the deep seated desire to usurp the century old power vested in men; it is role reversal; it is gender bending; it is rule breaking; it has shock value. On the other hand men find women sensual in the look (or should) as it is fantasy; it is kinky; it is confusing; it is intriguing.
Women dressed as men have been historically seen in performance arts and mythology. The Greeks and Hindus are examples of such.
In modern times, fashion designers and Avant-garde celebrities have utilized the look to shatter the traditional fashion norms and invade new fashion territories. From the YSL suit, to the Church’s Oxford; from the boyfriend shirt by the Olsen twins to the boyfriend blazer by Stella McCartney; from the latest collection of Dries Van Noten inspired by the “handsome woman” to the Chloe loafers.
From the past who can forget Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, and the oh so lovely Isabella Rossellini who has given a whole new meaning to wearing a suit. From the modern times the poster girl and representative of androgyny is Agyness Deyn. She is the epitome of style and glamour in men’s wear while still retaining her femininity and sexuality.
My advice to the rule breakers and the fashion-forward dressers is that if you are bold enough to take the risk of dabbling with the androgynous look, dare to go ALL the way! Do it with style so that it does not look “costumey.” Don the flat Oxfords, wear the vest, tie the tie, (I am not a smoker, so will not promote a cigarette dangling from your lips.) I WILL recommend wearing make-up as we do not want to go for the grunge-man look. Keep femininity and sexiness alive. And most importantly, if you have long hair please pull it back. The cascading hair is not befitting for this look. It makes it to be a “Stripper ready to Spin on the Pole” look. We are not going for such an effect….maybe another day, another time, but not now.
So, do it with confidence and panache and I assure you, never before will you have received as much attention as you will now. So, ladies empower yourselves and reverse the roles!