The pandemic has arguably heralded a definite renaissance in beauty and fashion. Lilac lids, reverse smokey eye and dramatic liners took over the beauty memo for the year, and fashion found a resurgence of sorts. With blurred lines between sartorial sensibilities and gender—brands, designers and fashion enthusiasts are now transforming into cool purveyors of gender-neutral silhouettes. Whether it’s streetwear, a red-carpet event or even the runway, fashion after quarantine has shattered the confinements.
Thanks to fashion shows making a comeback in a physical avatar, fashion films and runways have been a catalyst in the rise of androgynous designs. Closer home, renowned menswear designer Kunal Rawal made a statement at the FDCI India Couture Week 2021 with his ‘Vision Quest’ show. Starring his longtime friend Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, the show saw her in signature champagne and ivory embroidered bandhgala with a textured kurta, and ivory split dhoti pants. The actor has always been an advocate of gender-neutral clothing and this appearance only reinforced the idea.
Now as the West comes alive with a buffet of in-person events like the iconic Met Gala, New York Fashion Week, MTV Video Music Awards and more—attendees let loose sartorially. Gone are the days when classic tuxedos and elaborate cocktail gowns were the foolproof formula. 2021 is witnessing a refreshing wave of confidence, gender expression and fashion—and we’re here for it. At a recent performance, Shawn Mendes was seen sporting a sheer crop top with stripes. But the music sensation didn’t stop from serving just one gender-neutral look which took the ‘gram by storm.
He was spotted yet again at the VMAs in a fit that was emblematic of the very-recognisable Harry Styles’ aesthetic. Donning an overall white look with baggy trousers, camisole, oversized blazer and jewellery—Mendes successfully fades the line between fashion and gender, one look at a time.
When it comes to risqué, gender-neutral dressing, Troye Sivan scored big recently. Sivan made maximum impact with minimum effort, with daring cuts and black ensembles. First seen in a cropped FENDI suit, the Youth singer made headlines with an eccentric genderfluid choice.
At the recent Met Gala, he rocked a floor-grazing slip dress and platform boots by Joseph Altuzarra and baubles from Cartier. With experimental fits, diamond necklaces, rings, sky high boots—Sivan normalised gender-neutral fashion like never before.
As we step into an era of dopamine dressing, the trend has trickled into the wardrobes of men too. By ditching the safe bet (aka black), American rapper Lil Nas X recently offered a stimulating upgrade to the classic prom dress. He wore a crystal-encrusted, lilac half-gown-half-suit, designed by Versace. The structured tuxedo blazer and trouser also featured a swath of trailing fabric, which acted as a sophisticated train.
While there are multiple patrons of gender-neutral fashion—we’re counting Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, Billy Porter and more—homophobic stereotypes and toxic definitions of fashion continue to pollute the world’s perception of fashion. But with the rise in the number of influential people celebrating genderless fashion, the industry is taking a step in the right direction, we feel. Here’s raising a toast to a ‘genderful’ world in the time to come.
Photographs: Getty Images, Instagram