Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Are Part of a New Generation Embracing Gender Fluidity
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Midway through Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, a startling transformation takes place: Our hero, Duke Orlando, awakens from a seven-day slumber to find that he has switched genders. “Orlando had become a woman,” Woolf writes, “but in every other respect, Orlando remained precisely as he had been. The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity.”
He becomes they. The pronouns shift, but the person remains the same. Woolf’s words, written in 1928, could easily be mistaken for a manifesto posted yesterday on Tumblr, the preferred platform for the growing cohort of “fluid” young people who, like Orlando, breezily crisscross the XX/XY divide. Fashion, of course, has taken note of the movement, which is sufficiently evolved to boast its own pinups, including Jaden Smith, recently the star of a Louis Vuitton womenswear campaign, and androgynous Chinese pop star (and Riccardo Tisci muse) Chris Lee. But where, exactly, is someone neither entirely he nor she meant to shop? And how, exactly, is such a person to be defined?“They don’t want to be defined,” says Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, one of the many designers taking inspiration from the trend. “You see boys wearing makeup, girls buying menswear—they are not afraid to be who they are. This category or that category—who cares? They want to define themselves.”
This gender-bending approach to fashion has begun to achieve critical mass in pop culture and on the catwalk, with Alessandro Michele dressing his Gucci girls in dandyish suits and his Gucci boys in floral and brocade, actress Evan Rachel Wood wearing Altuzarra tuxedos on the red carpet, Pharrell Williams gallivanting down the Chanel runway in a tweed blazer and long strings of pearls, and rapper Young Thug posing on the cover of his mixtape in a long ruffled dress. More broadly, designers such as Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons at Calvin Klein are knitting their men’s and women’s collections together, showing them on the same catwalk and twinning certain looks—identical fabrics, identical embellishments, nearly identical silhouettes.
This new blasé attitude toward gender codes marks a radical break. Consider the scene one recent morning out in Montauk, New York, where the photos accompanying this story were shot: Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik snuggle in interchangeable tracksuits as, nearby, Hadid’s younger brother, Anwar, rocks back and forth on a tire swing, his sheer lace top exposing scattered tattoos. For these millennials, at least, descriptives like boy or girl rank pretty low on the list of important qualities—and the way they dress reflects that.
“I shop in your closet all the time, don’t I?” Hadid, 22, flicks a lock of dyed-green hair out of her boyfriend’s eyes as she poses the question.
“Yeah, but same,” replies Malik, 24. “What was that T-shirt I borrowed the other day?”
“The Anna Sui?” asks Hadid.
“Yeah,” Malik says. “I like that shirt. And if it’s tight on me, so what? It doesn’t matter if it was made for a girl.”
Hadid nods vigorously. “Totally. It’s not about gender. It’s about, like, shapes. And what feels good on you that day. And anyway, it’s fun to experiment. . . .”
Anwar, eavesdropping, pipes up. “We’re chill!” he calls out from a picnic table not far away. “People our age, we’re just chill. You can be whoever you want,” he adds, ambling over, “as long as you’re being yourself.”
This is how you can tell a paradigm shift has taken place: when a fresh way of seeing a thing seems like common sense. Once, the Earth was flat; then it was round—at which point, of course it was. Likewise, for eighteen-year-old Anwar Hadid and many of his peers, gender is a more or less arbitrary distinction, a boundary that can be traversed at will. Maybe that leads you to call yourself agender or bigender or demiboy or mostly girl—or maybe it just means that you and your significant other share a wardrobe. Either way, there’s a terrific opportunity for play.
It’s this space that fashion designers have rushed into. Alessandro Michele, whose recent Gucci shows have been at the epicenter of fashion’s genderquake, says that he treats traditional feminine and masculine wardrobe codes “as if they were a language, a score, a dictionary.“I use them to rewrite a story,” Michele explains. “I find it fascinating to break and mystify them in order to reinvent them in a different way. I create space for a personal interpretation.”
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source : http://www.vogue.com/article/gigi-hadid-zayn-malik-august-2017-vogue-cover-breaking-gender-codes