We don’t have to tell you that 2016 has been a pretty shocking year for our ageing pop-culture icons. There are Bowie and Prince-sized holes that nobody will ever be able to fill, both musically and sartorially. Those two knew how to dress to impress and loved to keep it genderless. But The Purple One and Ziggy S aren’t the only two heroes to have mastered the gender-neutral dress code. Here are six more who’ve aced androgyny…
Stylish androgynous dressers
By Chris Sayer, 14 May 2016
Let’s not beat around the bush here – this could be the greatest rock album cover of all time. Not only does it front up one of the most important punk relics ever written, but Robert Mapplethorpe’s photograph has been regarded as a classic portrait in its own right, rightfully earning a spot on the walls of the Tate. Patti, who reeks of a ‘f*ck you, I don’t care what you think’ attitude in her crisp white shirt, dark jeans and jacket over her shoulder, took her style inspiration from ‘Bob Dylan, French symbolist poets… and Catholic school boys’ according to her interview with Refinery29 last year.
Ask 20 or so people to name one iconic Kurt Cobain garm and chances are you’ll hear a different answer each time. You’ll get the hole-ridden green cardigan from his Unplugged session (which actually sold for $137,000 at auction last year). Or maybe the hospital robe he wore on stage at his incendiary Reading Festival gig in 1992. Or that red and black-striped sweat. Or that ‘Hi, How Are You’ tee. Us? We’d pick the entire gender-neutral outfit he wore to the 1993 MTV Awards. Along with battered skinny jeans, filthy Converse and lipstick-red sunglasses, he’s basically the reason we’d happily wear a Breton-stripe long-sleeved tee every day of the week.
Oh, how we gasped, cried, gawped and hid behind the cushion during the last instalment of Shane Meadows' This Is England last year – it’s highly probable that your blood pressure hasn’t quite come down from the ceiling yet. Of all the impeccably dressed characters, there was always one that stood out – Lol. Go on, just you try and argue that she didn’t own the line between girl-gang leader and beer-swilling geezer perfectly.
‘The jeans I got on right now, they’re women’s jeans. But they fit how they’re supposed to fit, like a rock star,’ the Atlanta-born rapper, who also sports painted nails on stage, told a reporter from GQ last year. ‘The only thing I probably have in men’s is, like, briefs. T-shirts. 90% of my clothes are women’s.’ Can’t argue with that.
Say what will about the Twilight saga’s contribution to pop culture at large – it’s hard to argue with its inadvertent legacy within the world of menswear. And ‘mens’-wear. While Edward Cullen has broken free from his century-old vampiric curse to emerge as one of the mid-2010s' most consistently creative casual dressers, his blood-sucking bae Bella has more than matched him step for scruffy/cool step, wearing the hell out of skinny ripped jeans, leather jackets, skate kicks and punky tees on the regular.
Remember when the whole world stared, slack-jawed, at their computer screens, marvelling at the news that Jaden Smith, a 17-year-old boy, was to the face of Louis Vuitton’s womenswear campaign? We say the whole world – there was one person that remained totally unfazed: Jaden himself. A vocal advocate of gender-transcending garms, he’s anything but shy about rocking a patterned midi-skirt on Twitter with the message ‘My Mood When They Try To Hate’, or wearing a white skirt to prom. Best thing is, he totally owns it. Good man.