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‘Kiiimmm! Kiimmm! Kiimmm!’ The crowds shrieked outside the Prada show as Kim Kardashian — the ultimate avatar of bodycon dressing — swanned past in an oversized nappa leather boiler suit from the brand’s men’s collection. That she wore the look open to the waist down, flashing skin and a black triangle-logo bra, only added to the spectacle.


It was a moment that confirmed what had been brewing in fashion: that gender-neutral style had fully arrived. At the Autumn/Winter 2022 collections, insiders and influencers converged en masse in androgynous, oversized outerwear, boxy tailoring, clunky footwear, sweater vests or tracksuits. Think Annie Hall 2.0, runway edition.

This season, Louis Vuitton led the way with a knockout collection that might just put ties back on the map… for young women. Squid Game star Hoyeon Jung opened the show wearing loose-fitting striped trousers, a leather jacket and a floral printed tie. It was a decidedly mannish look, save for the star’s long, flowing locks, setting the scene for a series of gender-bending, bold-shouldered suits and bomber jackets. Dresses were styled with sporty rugby shirts, reminiscent of how a young co-ed might raid her boyfriend’s closet.

In Milan, Prada co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons took the masculine work uniform of blazer, crew neck wool sweater and mashed it up with artful, deconstructed evening skirts in unexpected textures like silk, leather and paillettes. Fall’s key trend item — the oversized bomber or boxy coat — also made an appearance, subversively festooned with a shock of feathers. 

Miuccia took the gender blurring one step further for her Miu Miu collection, sending out six ‘men’s’ looks that complemented the micro-mini sets from Spring that were all the rage. The sets, now updated with a tennis vibe, were shown alongside items borrowed from the boys: argyle sweaters, roomy shearling jackets, penny loafers and boots.

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, who’s been at the vanguard of non-binary fashion since his debut at the brand, pivoted to tailoring as the way forward. He may have opened with a sober navy double-breasted number, but he quickly piled on with more outré suiting, sending out velvet tuxedos with crystal detailing and sequins on him, corduroy and plaid suiting with ties on her. A collab with adidas rounded out the collection with athleisure-inspired dresses and tracksuit drag.

Fashion’s current Victor/Victoria moment, however, has a long history. The movement began in the 1920s, when Coco Chanel started using men’s pieces in her designs and her own attire. Screen siren Marlene Dietrich pushed the boundaries with her louche, tailored androgyny and stylised men’s drag (dubbed the ‘Dietrich silhouette’). The Second World War years only accelerated the trend, with women filling men’s roles in the workforce.

After a brief return to heavily gendered fashions in the 1950s, with nipped-in waists and full skirts popularised by Dior’s ‘New Look’, the youth quake and sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s blurred the lines once again. Yves Saint Laurent introduced ‘le smoking’ (or the tuxedo for women), along with other totems of men’s style: gangster pinstripes, safari khaki, peacoats and trench coats. Pierre Cardin and Courrèges espoused ‘space age’ unisex silhouettes, with graphic patterns and synthetic fabrics. Halston found fame and fortune with his Ultrasuede shirt dress. By the 1980s, Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto pioneered new ground with deconstructed collections and shapes that spoke to both genders.

Image by Steven Meisel

A decade later, Calvin Klein launched his revolutionary CK One fragrance, marketed to both genders. The unisex fragrance was a precursor to powerhouse Jo Malone’s gender-agnostic scents or boutique, cult favorites like Maison Francis Kurkdjian, whose unisex Oud and Baccarat are winning new fans. ‘Like a unisex wardrobe, these masculine/feminine fragrances garb the body with their scent trail,’ said the famous ‘nose’, who created scents for major designers before establishing his own maison. To him, they are to be ‘shared with your other’.

So, what’s driving today’s resurgence of gender-neutral styles? For starters, there’s the rise of streetwear and sneaker culture, which injected creative mojo and masculine styling to women’s wear. At the same time, couples in Korea and beyond took the concept of twinning to another level with matching fashions that brought unisex concepts to the fore.

But most notably, Gen Z came of age, along with demands for inclusivity and gender fluidity in fashion. From high street to high fashion, sustainable, ethical and unisex brands are being embraced by a new generation. In fact, gender-neutral store The Phluid Project has reported that 56 per cent of Gen Z consumers have purchased items outside their gender.

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Wherever you stand on the spectrum, though, the reality is today’s trend towards oversized blazers and coats, slouchy trousers, chunky footwear, boots or fragrance hits all the right notes. Retro 80s/90s vibes? Check. Comfort? Check. Inclusivity? Double check, as the proportions are forgiving for most bodies. It’s about individual style, with everything fair game — including your boyfriend’s closet.