Fashion: It's a Boy/Girl Thing

Transgender Lea T and Androgynous Andrej Pejjic

By , Contributor

Who's that girl? - Male model Andrej Pejic

It’s that time of year again and countries all over the world are welcoming some of the biggest designers, models and celebrities in the unique crush of style, glamour and drama that is fashion week.  And fashion week wouldn’t be fashion week without the standard controversy that surrounds it. 

Last year, in response to the demand for models to actually represent the human body rather than a skeletal representation, "plus size" models stormed many of the catwalks including Mark Fast’s show.  This year there is a new trend afoot that goes hand in hand with one of the hottest looks of the season; androgyny.

With transgender model Lea T and "femiman" icon Andrej Pejic among the androgynous models who strutted on the autumn/winter 2011-12 runways, audiences were primed for a gender shake-up.

Lea T is currently the muse of Riccardo Tisci, the creative director of luxury label Givenchy and has fronted its latest campaign whilst also gracing the label’s Haute Couture catwalk shows. "Lea has innate elegance - she's a true goddess!" gushed Tisci in a recent interview.  Clearly, he is not the only one to have succumbed to her charms as the Brazilian transgender supermodel has just snagged a campaign with Blue Man, a swimwear brand based in her native country.

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Making a splash - Lea T models swimwear for Blue Man

"I was hoping I was gay," she said. "Because, for my family, it would be less painful. And then I could have a normal life." But a normal life couldn’t be further from the truth for the current darling of the fashion industry who earlier this year "made out" with Kate Moss for the front cover of controversial fashion magazine Love.

At the other end of the spectrum is Andrej Pejjic, who, since the fashion industry first began asking “Who’s the blonde girl?” at the Paris men's shows in 2010, has emerged as a poster boy for fashion androgyny. With his long, flowing platinum blonde locks and perfect, ethereal features, he has been stealing some of the most sought after campaigns from under the noses of the top set of female models.

Bosnian born Pejic immigrated to Australia at the age of eight with his family to escape the Bosnian war and began experimenting with make up and hair dye from an early age.

Speaking frankly about his looks he recently said "I don’t really have that sort of strong gender identity - I identify as what I am. The fact that people are using it for creative or marketing purposes, it’s just kind of like having a skill and using it to earn money."

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Karolina Kurkova and Andrej Pajic confuse and delight for Jean Pal Gaultier

And use it they do, from Jean Paul Gaultier to Marc Jacobs, designers are queuing up to book Pejic in their catwalks and campaigns, but how long will it last in one of the world’s most notoriously fickle industries?

Time is always of the essence in the fashion industry but who really cares whether the model is of male, female, or unspecified gender as long as the end product looks good?  The purpose of a model is to be a clotheshorse, to ultimately become a manifestation of the designer’s vision.  It is clear to see that this new type of catwalk "queen" is a designer’s dream-come-true, and in that respect, let us hope that this curious trend lasts for longer than a season.

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Creative, multi-talented and incredibly sarcastic, Lydia Morton is a PR person, journalist and blogger. In her free time she writes for various publications, most recently The RITZ Magazine and Quintessentially Magazine.

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