As the first TV show to feature a transgender protagonist, ‘Transparent’ revolves around the concept of transition. It would be reductive, however, to say that the series is only about Mort’s transition into becoming Maura; rather, ‘Transparent’ follows the personal and social consequences of her coming into the world again as a trans woman. As the title of the series suggests, the motor of the action is honesty, a quality that Maura and her family lack for the most part. Her coming out, then, sets into motion a process of self-reflection, dialogue and exchange for the Pfeffermans, who find themselves in the situation of having to reconsider and rebuild their relationships with themselves, with each other and with the rest of the world. Their wardrobes reflect these drastic changes in an organic way: sartorial transitions correspond to the characters’ life transitions.
The Gypsy costume that won me prizes in school carnivals in the late 1970s and early 1980s had little to do with the family stories my grandmother whispered at bedtime and that filled the night with magic or terror. Truth and fiction switched places so many times, I don’t think even she could tell them apart after a while.
If one had to give an example of the popular expression ‘dressing for the part,’ the television series UnREAL would provide endless material. As the title suggests, the series develops around the fine line between what is real and what is not. The plot of UnREAL follows the making of a fictional reality show, ‘Everlasting’; and is, in fact, a show within a show. While initially the difference between those dressing for the part – the reality TV show contestants – and those who dress them for the part, the producers, is quite clear, as the series progresses the boundaries become more loose, and the characters’ ethical concerns – or lack thereof – are reflected in their fashion choices. In UnREAL, the clothes make the antiheroes.
It’s an autumnal afternoon in London’s Soho and I’m meeting porn-legend Buck Angel. I must admit, I’m more than a little nervous. Very few contemporary porn stars have inspired as much discussion – both academic and journalistic – as Buck Angel. As someone who was born female, and worked as a professional model, but then changed sex and pursued a career in pornography, Buck challenges many cultural and social expectations. Buck is, arguably, one of the first Female to Male (FtM) transsexual performers in the adult entertainment world and could even be credited with starting a new genre of pornography. Known as ‘the hunk with a pussy,’ he coined the phrase ‘It’s not what’s between your legs that defines you’ and the erotic potential of his films all stress that gender performance exerts as much sexual allure as what is (or is not) between the legs.
Why should clogs be despised? Much art has been expended on clogs. They have been made of lovely woods, and delicately inlaid with ivory, and with mother-of-pearl. A clog might be a dream of beauty, and, if not too high or too heavy, most comfortable also. But if there be any who do not like clogs, let them try some adaptation of the trouser of the Turkish lady, which is loose round the limb and tight at the ankle.
Two years after the Paris 1968 student riots, Parisian couturier Jacques Esterel launched a timely couture collection for men and women that responded to the shifting gender ideals of the time. Resplendent with matching his and hers outfits and unisexwear, Esterel’s looks seemed to reflect a breakdown of the fashion system and the gender issues that were a result of the zeitgeist; an exemplar that periods of crisis are not only foreshadowed by, but also directly result in, changes in systems of dress.
The relationship between advertising (brand) and editorial (publication) in fashion has never been straightforward. As journalism scholar Lynda Davis argues ‘editorial is perhaps the most valuable form of media content because it is perceived to be unbiased and believable. Its ‘‘purity’’ (precisely because it is not advertising) derives from its aura of authority and neutrality.’ We examine the notion of editorial transparency, and how four different publishing platforms – The Business of Fashion, Nowness, Porter and The Talks – are dealing with the issue in relation to their respective funding models.