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Friday, October 26, 2007

Man, I feel like a woman

In the early 1930's, Hollywood siren Marlene Dietrich (left) stepped out in style. Trouser suit, bow tie and a masculine hat. It was certainly a look that shocked the more conservative. It was not long however when this androgynous style was copied by the mass market and Dietrich was cited as a style icon. Of course, Katherine Hepburn (below) was also famed for her androgynous style, preferring wider trousers and natural make up, unlike painted lipped Dietrich, which made her style even more radical.

Indeed the masculine style is one of those things that is ever in vogue. I am all for dresses and femininity but although it may seem like a contradiction I think there is something very feminine for a woman to stand out from the crowd in an androgynous style suit. It has been said for a woman to step out in a man - style suit is one of the most empowering things a woman can do. I guess people, men and women alike, stand up and take notice.

Fast forward to the late 1970's when cult movie Annie Hall reintroduces women to the notion of wearing mannish suits. The costumes designed partly by Ralph Lauren and worn by Diane Keaton of course, are iconic of both cinematic and fashion history. A decade previously, Yves Saint Laurent designed his women's dinner jacket known as Le Smoking. The 80's obviously saw power dressing at it's maximum, as the Marlene style wide shouldered suit returned.

Iconic fashion moment - Annie Hall, 1977

Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking jacket

In 2007, androgyny is still as powerful and fashion foreword as it was in the 30's. Until recently my wardrobe was without a tuxedo jacket, now I can not imagine it without it, especially since androgyny is such a major trend this winter. I'm glad to say too, that it was very empowering to march into the men's section of a department store and purchase a crisp, white, button up shirt. Cue the music for this post's title!

Kirsten works the masculine style, in one of my favourite celebrity looks of the year, bringing the suit right up to the present day. Red lips add extra drama.



Suiting up at Paul Smith Women, Mark Jacobs, Lanvin and Nicole Miller. The suit is one of this seasons biggest trends.
(I apologise for the quality of some of these pictures, as they were scanned from books of mine.)

35 comments:

Avenue George said...

Great post- well written, and fantastic examples and images. I love the look! In fact in the 90s I bought a suit inspired by Kate Moss who wore one back then on the red carpet.

You must have cool books!

;)

Romeika said...

"I am all for dresses and femininity but although it may seem like a contradiction I think there is something very feminine for a woman to stand out from the crowd in an androgynous style suit.", i couldn't agree more with this thought. I love wearing dresses and skirts and being all girlish but i also adore the feeling of wearing in a mannish way.

Marlene Dietrich, Kathy Hepburn, Diane Keaton...fabulous icons of such a style. And i adored Kirsten's look, i hadn't seen it before. Great post!

P.S.:I've answered your lovely comment on the swedish street style post.

Kira Fashion said...

i loveee men´s clothes for women!

a kiss

grea post!

muze1990 said...

I think there is something very feminine for a woman to stand out from the crowd in an androgynous style suit.

I totally agree with this! And love the pictures from Annie Hall and Kirsten Dunst! And your posts are always such fun to read! Keep it up!

discothequechic said...

Fantastic post, Kat. Glad that you're back!

Yes, Kiki was on top form when she wore this, it'd one of my favourite "kirtsen looks" without a doubt, and the bright lipstick really topped the look off.

This is such a timeless look; just like other classic looks (such as the LBD) I love how it can evolve and change with the times, but can still reflect that "empowering feeling" that you mentioned.
xx

emsie said...

amazing post! it's funny, i was learning about Marlene Dietrich in history the other day, we're studying Germany (for GCSE).

kirsten dunst rocks this look

i'm definitely linking you, btw!

x

FT said...

I love that women have taken over men's wear, haha! These suits are fantastic... so chic.

XOXO
FT

Jen (MahaloFashion.Com) said...

It's strange but i think the masculin look can make you look even more feminin, and it makes you feel powerful at the same time, she was a very daring woman!

said...

hmm nice post very imfortative and i look like the looks

Diana @ So Fash'on said...

yes! I so feel this look right now!

LML said...

awesome post! i was always llok forward to your posts - its like reading an article in NYLON! i love the menswear look - and i agree about the kirsten dunst photo - def one of my faves from this year - its so simple but bold at the same time - and soooo crisp!
love it :)

atelier said...

I love Miss Dunst outfit, she looks so powerful... I love femenine style, but I can't imagine my life without a tuxedo jacket. Great post

coco said...

I loved looking at all those old photos

cotton candy said...

i love the look!! it's just breathtaking i think. its so chic!!

riz said...

Dietrich was indispensible for fashion...she was such a great lady! A true powerhouse

jayne said...

awesome post! then again your posts are really always phenomenal- interesting and well researched\

i love this style, i love when women just assert themselves as the bold, beautiful, sexy powerhouse women that they are, and mensware totally does this. although it may seem contradictory to say that a woman needs to dress like a man to be noticed, i feel like only woman who are really comfortable enough w/ their sexuality can actually do this, so the fact as woman wears mensware really shows how much gumption she has.

penelope said...

omg!! one of your best post ever!!! it's fabb!! love love marlene and kirsten looks amazing in those skinnys and padded shoulder jacket!

i'm wearing black skinnys now and i have a good mind to go grab my dad's white shirt and jacket now!! haha!

Lluviaschick said...

my personal inspiration is annie hall,... wonderful

The Clothes Horse said...

Androgynous dressing is definitely a powerful statement and Marlene Dietrich was such a forward-dresser. Wonderful post, beautifully written and great examples.

Anonymous said...

haha u know how i love shirts, waistcoats, suits etc. . .

Surprise!!!!!!

Excellent post as usual girlie, love the pictures

xoxoxox

katherine said...

love love Annie Hall. Best movie period.

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fashion jewelry said...

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