Dion Lee A/W 18: Decoding Gender

  • Fashion
    Dion Lee A/W 18: Decoding Gender

Source: http://www.vogue.co.uk/shows/autumn-winter-2018-ready-to-wear/dion-lee/collection

Fashion has never been more political than what it is now. Women’s fashion now stands as a symbol of power and individuality, rather than hedonistic indulgence.

With that being said, then what is Dion Lee trying to say with militarised lingerie and revealing nude thongs?

I was extremely optimistic for the Sydney-born designer’s debut NYFW collection, confident that fashion from Down Under will be done proud. For the most part, Lee has lived up to expectations by showcasing his signature minimalist designs that allow women to embrace sophisticated elegance whilst enjoying supreme comfort. However, the questionable addition of thick and imposing padded brassieres seem to clash with both the overall aesthetic of paired back, monotone silhouettes, and with the current liberation of female sexuality.  

At first, I was beyond perplexed by the opening look that awkwardly combined a dusty pink, honeycomb patterned bra with a sharp, utilitarian indigo suit, but there may be method to this madness. It creates the visage of a feminist warrior who is not ashamed of her femininity. The daring cups are almost ironical, as Lee has desexualised our boobs by turning them into militarised statements. It might be jarring, but its also somewhat liberating.

Dion Lee’s second risk, however, struck a bit too far below the belt. The reality is that very few women, no matter how beautiful their butt, would feel comfortable walking around with a bare derrière. The skirt, which featured Lee’s signature netting, is beyond naughty or provocative, as it just looks plain uncomfortable. Nobody wants a breeze back there when they're traipsing around in autumn climates. In an ideal world, women should be able to wear what we please, however, we’re not in utopia yet.

Overall, the womenswear has been overcomplicated with missing sleeves, superfluous flaps and awkward, concertinaed hemlines. Why is it that the women have to endure dysfunctional designs whilst the men can enjoy stylish simplicity? Perhaps this incongruity is a reflection of the differences between men and women? I think Lee encourages gender fluidity by showing the two sexes in conjunction whilst still playing on the differences in style, allowing consumers to create their own personal style.
 
This was a collection that rebelled against current expectations of the feminist warrior, for better or for worse. Although certain pieces were not amongst the designers finest work, Dion Lee spices up generic comfort-clothes and makes style easy.

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