Any child will remember Spiderman, Batman, the Lone Ranger, and Zorro; heroes who were coveted more for the excitement of their anonymity perhaps than their skills in fighting crime. Reading avidly, eyes glued to the pages of a comic, or the cinema screen, the curiosity of the unknown was captivating.
Starting in the 1930s, the concept of superheroes, and vigilantes (and their adversaries) adopting secret identities became more widespread in novels, pulp magazines, comic books, TV shows and other popular fiction. Writers latched onto the idea, creating hundreds of characters with ordinary lives, which allowed for human drama, as well as create tension with the effort needed to preserve their secret.
However, despite the change from naïve childhood to adulthood, the thrill of the unknown still exists. The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness of this natural hunger for mystery. While heroes and villains lose their charm as we grow up, Art has been used to manipulate and challenge the concept of identity for thousands of years. From the Mona Lisa to Banksey, anonymity and the 'unknown' in art remains a largely used device used by artists all over the world. But how can one define art? Is painting rival to fashion? Is fashion a canvas on which anonymity can be exhibited?
I personally see fashion as an art form. Like "art", fashion allows one to fully exhibit themselves through clothing. Like "art" - and I put art in inverted commas, purely to demonstrate the fluidity of the word - fashion too is a constantly moving world of colour, shapes and design. Therefore, what happens when anonymity, art and fashion emerge? Create an anonymous gender bending personna. Capture it.
I call my blog The Masculine Feminine for simple reasons. I love the concept of identity, and the ability to challenge gender roles through fashion. For me, I vary between two extremes. On the one hand, I enjoy baby pink, over-sized 50s skirts and high heels; on the other, clean tailoring, sharp shoes and spats. Like some double-sexed superhero, toting a baby doll dress in disguise, and a suit when the time is needed, perhaps. Yohji Yamamoto said in a 1983 issue of the New York times, "I always wonder who decided that there should be a difference in the clothes of men and women". An interesting thought from a design genius, yet I can't help but question the fact that isn't that difference key to the excitement behind fashion? The essential distance between men and women's fashion is becoming less and less significant each day, yet surely, gender defined fashion allows space for experimentation, space for the unknown. It makes me want to turn boys into girls, and girls into boys, or boys into boys with make up, or girls into girls with suits. Gender bending is art, challenging identity is art. Embrace your inner gender bender, and grab your balls in one hand and a Chanel lipstick in the other. Because after all, being a piece of art must be pretty fun.
all photos by myself. from various points 2013-2014