I'm not a big fan of fashion. But sometimes, something or someone appears in that scene that just breaks ground. Now, the fashion industry always played with the concept of androgyny. Until recently that always meant a female model who had masculine characteristics.
That type of androgyny was not threatening to patriarchal notions of female sexuality. Lesbianism has been objectified enough that it is just another titillation for the entertainment of men.
But now, now the fashion industry has raised up a model that is threatening those standards.
Andrej Pejic is one of the most exciting fashion models on the scene today. Recently he appeared in both the male and female shows for Jean Paul Gaultier.
What makes him threatening is that he is a direct revolt against male heterosexual fantasies about fashion. I can't help but feel that Pejic's success is a quiet but determined shout to the powers that be that fashion isn't a type of pornography lite. Because Pejic isn't a direct threat to women. But he is extremely threatening to the powers that want fashion to be about heterosexual male desires.
As a model, he is a kind of changeling. At once breathtakingly beautiful in the feminine sense and at other turns extremely handsome. He can't be objectified or used in the same fashion that female models are as a throwaway toy. But his presence highlights just how much female fashion models are depersonalized by the surrounding industries feeding off fashion.
He made a dry comment recently about getting a sex change in order to appear in a Victoria's Secret campaign. Some took this comment seriously, but I always took it as a joke. In Pejic's interviews he comes across as fairly level headed and quick witted. He is also highly aware of his subversive quality. His presence in both male and female fashion is extremely political and a personal rebellion against gender roles.
Why can't he be in the Victoria's Secret show? It is about fashion isn't it? Not a stripper show. Or is it? Victoria's Secret makes it's bread and butter by pandering to men who want their women to wear VS's sexy, non-utilitarian lingerie. By throwing down the gauntlet, Pejic is daring Victoria's Secret to prove themselves as part of the real fashion world and not just a pandering leech feeding off of it's glamour.
Gaultier showcased Pejic as the highlight of both his shows for male and female fashion. In the female show, Pejic modeled Gualtier's bridal gown. And as he made his way down that catwalk, I couldn't help but feel that he was making a break for it. That he found a place where he didn't have to deal with stratified roles for men and women. Or, at the very least, Pejic shows us that there can be a world in which people can be free from sexism. It was that quality that people cheered, the dress was just a dress.