Noted: Femininity, Masculinity, and the Fall Collection

One snap of my fingers and I can raise hemlines so high the world is your gynecologist!

The models on the Gucci runway wore purple print dresses that barely skimmed their tiny derrieres. They teetered atop platform pumps that seemed to be cobbled together out of iridescent plastic. Some of the tawdry dresses were cut so low that they looked as if they were stuck on backward with double-sided tape and must surely be in violation of some E.U. decency laws.

I don't read fashion stories very often, but this morning I was in the mood for taking in the florid writing style often used in descriptions of fashion shows. This story from the Washington Post had just that, but I was surprised also to find this bit of reflective critique:

Designers here have been engaged in their biannual ritual of defining what it means to be a contemporary woman. Strong. Ladylike. Sexual. Intellectual. Miuccia Prada celebrates what is inside the modern woman's head. The Gucci collection, designed by Frida Giannini, aims to address the lusty desires of a far different region of the body. (Definitions of masculinity are essentially static. With each turn of the fashion season, the only questions in menswear seem to be: How much will the peacock be stroked? Will the Everyman's inner Johnny Weir be coaxed into the light? Or will it be a time for caveman instincts to be set loose?) Each season, the definition of femininity is reworked from whole cloth. Instead of seeing a woman as a whole person with many moods, designers prefer to treat her as an assemblage of characters. Fashion demands and allows a woman to reinvent herself.