Live and let live – a style mantra

Frankly, I think there are way too many coined labels on how we style ourselves. My belief is that we are conditioned by several influences, particularly in this eclectic space that is the Caribbean, so we can opt to reflect any of the myriad of possibilities. What we style on the outside is a manifestation of who we claim to be inwardly. So we can choose to express ourselves, through our style predilections to say who we are, without being always in fashion or gender-sanctioned.

On occasion, we simplify gender-fluid fashion expression as unisex. A term which really means that women can wear what guys wear, and hardly ever is this assumption, vice versa. So today let’s reflect on this niggling buzzword, ‘unisex’. A seemingly old fashioned word, in light of the varying Millenial permutations, which have become rampantly ever-changing – waif, femetrosexual, androgynous, boyish-hipster, gender-bending –  but which still seems to underscore the genesis of the quandary surrounding style and gender.

Androgyny in women’s fashion gained increasing prominence, towards the end of the last century. Models, the likes of Stella Tennant and Kristen McMenamy scorched runways and blazed a trail on magazine covers, redefining beauty. Tomboy chic registered as equally stunning and a host of superstars followed suit. Jada Pinkett, Eve among others sported short cropped hair which signalled a bold new aesthetic, so much so that even today handsome women, Erika Linder and Agyness Deyn, are being booked for campaigns. No longer is the classic femme fatale a smoldering beauty, seen in a one-dimensional bombshell package but she is now an admixture of a little butch, a little girly girl, a little Trixie. Blurring the lines, in terms of gender-bending style, has become one of the iconic beauty looks.    

As ultra-inclusivity becomes recognised, with the liberalisation of gender identities and the open celebration of Pride for the LGBTQIA communities, we appreciate more and more a wider spectrum of what defines the it-girl. Her range of looks has expanded to truly reflect our diversity and our distinctive inspirations. The truth of the matter is that cross-dressing for women has always been a fascinating feature in styling, that at one and same time brandished notions of gender liberalisation, but moreover, in simple terms, smacked of ultra-chic femininity. By juxtaposing masculine and feminine, in one look, seemed to heighten the intensity of the feminine allure and the resulting composition was considered absolutely appealing and magnetic to the fashion cognoscenti. 

With all these portmanteaux concocted to represent the contemporary fashionistas, no wonder we get ourselves confused, needing to label individuals, instead of just allowing persons to live and let live. Style has always been inclusive, for it is evolutionary and representative, so we should appreciate the plethora of choices we are blessed to experience and commemorate our differences just as much as we acknowledge our similarities. Daww Creations will be featured at the show “I’m Style: at the Government Campus Plaza Auditorium on Sunday 4th August at 5pm. 

Fashion – DAWW Creations (Designer – Marlon George)

Makeup and styling – Richard Young

Hair – Nicole Missette

shot on location at the Military Museum

Photography – Stephen Doobal

Model – Athaliah Samuel

Richard Young

Fashion Consultant / Creative Director

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