Philip introduces us to some pioneering creatives from across the decades who have challenged gender style conventions.
Before Grace Jones’s fierce high-top afro hair and k.d. lang’s hip swaggering men’s denim looks, iconic artist Hannah Gluckstein (1895 –1978), nicknamed ‘Gluck’, was blazing a trail in the 1910s in the evolution of modern art and queer gender style. Gluck dressed almost exclusively in men’s clothing and had love affairs with numerous women, who all inspired her hand to paint those magical paint strokes. Financially independent and relatively free to be herself for the era, Gluck is now considered to be pioneer for LGBTQI* lives.
The appropriation of masculine dress by women to create identities for themselves has a long and brilliant history.
Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Gluck and her contemporaries changed many people’s perception of feminine and masculine dress. From actors Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, and Diane Keaton in the film ‘Annie Hall’ to musicians like Patti Smith, Grace Jones, Annie Lennox and k.d. lang. Phew what a list!
Fashion designers also got in on the act including legendary Yves Saint Laurent, with his iconic ‘Le Smoking’ (a tuxedo for women).
These iconic women and creatives chose to express their identities through masculine style, and challenged how people thought about identity, gender and sexuality.
Credit: DR. MARTENS X THE SPIRIT OF BUFFALO. A film by Jamie Morgan, exploring the cultural history of the eclectic Buffalo movement. Buffalo was a maverick 80s youth culture collective made up of photographers, designers and artists. These radicals transformed the way that society thought about fashion. Ray Petri, the movement’s leader explained that the word ‘Buffalo’ itself was a Caribbean expression used to describe ‘rude boys’ and ‘rebels’. His travels to far flung-places in the world helped inspire his youth-charged aesthetic that collided MA-1 flight jackets, sportswear and Che Guevara hats with the decade's leading fashion designers and Dr Martens boots, kilts and African headwear. Let’s make a revolution!