Blurred Lines

Caroline de Maigret / Pinstripes

Caroline de Maigret

Gender blurring is having a moment.  A fashion moment that is…

Declaring that “Gender is a context, and context is often gendered” Miuccia Prada presented her men’s collection for fall 2015 together with her women’s pre-fall collection, a pairing she then repeated at her men’s spring 2016 show which also featured women’s resort on the same catwalk.

Then at Gucci, the house’s new creative director, Alessandro Michele, followed suit, but causing quite a stir took matters a stage further.  Not only did his male and female models share the same catwalk, but the same style of clothes. And it was men’s rather than women’s wardrobes that the designer was looking to makeover.

Italian fashion editor Simone Marchetti is already a fan…

Simone Marchetti / Gucci Fall 2015

Gucci Fall 2015 Mens Collection

It’s not just male fashion folk who currently seem comfortable wearing clothes we usually associate with women.  We’ve recently seen music mogul Pharrell Williams in Chanel jacket and pearls alongside model Cara Delevingne in the campaign for the house’s pre-fall 2015 Paris-Salzburg Collection…

Pharrell Williams / Chanel

The Grammy award winner, and recipient of the 2015 CFDA Fashion Icon Award, is no shrinking violet when it comes to style, and has been snapped sporting strands of pearls and other pieces co-opted from womenswear in the past.  However, while the singer-song writer is obviously ‘Happy’ to push the boundaries, will his sense of fashion freedom trickle down to the male population at large?

Attempts by designers to ‘feminise’ men’s fashion have come and gone, with little success to date, (remember David Beckham in that Jean-Paul Gaultier sarong?) but women routinely ‘borrow from the boys’.  Styling ourselves up in suits and sporting so called ‘boyfriend’ jeans is second nature, and certainly no longer newsworthy.

Of the many traditionally male pieces that we’ve co-opted, one of my favourites is the pinstripe.  I love an androgynous look, and there’s something about this particular pattern which when worn by a woman looks quite special.  However, it’s when the Saville Row associations are put to one side and the pattern is used in a completely different context that I think the pinstripe really comes into its own.

It’s been reinterpreted by many designers over the decades, and these are a few of my favourite most recent reincarnations…

Balenciaga Resort 2013 / Saint Laurent Spring 2015 / Balmain Spring 2014

Actress Rooney Mara wore Balenciaga’s high waisted pinstriped look in Berlin back in 2013 to promote the film ‘Side Effects’. And as someone who is constantly frustrated by the lack of individuality on the red carpet, this, for me, was an inspired choice…

Rooney Mara / Balenciaga Resort 2013

Rooney Mara

The pinstripe’s fashion journey continues to move forward, and it’s now become a street style staple.  We’re just as likely to see the pattern paired with sneakers as sported by city bankers…

I wonder what’s next for this timeless tailored pattern? Although perhaps a more interesting question to ask, is whether we’ll be talking about men’s styling of billowing pussy bow blouses and pearls in a similar vein in years to come…?

Inspired by ‘Fine Lines: 15 Women who Killed it in Pinstripes’ by Kristin Anderson

Image Credits: Pinterest /The Fashion Lawstyle.com / Fashion Gone Rogue

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