I was a child in the 80s. A proper child, not a mewing infant. Old enough to remember the 80s, but not old enough to have been coked up and making a shit ton of money. The whole 80s nostalgia thing didn’t really hit home with me; neon makes me look like death warmed over, and I’ve always been too into social etiquette to get into the vulgarity and excess of the whole aesthetic genre. Essentially, the 80s–cradle of my childhood–didn’t stick.
Except for its propensity for fashionable androgyny. That stuck. I know now that I wasn’t the only little girl who reduced her Barbies’ heads to hairlet nubs and used a magic marker to color the newly “shaven” head bright orange a’la Annie Lennox. I even went so far as to turn Ken into a pointless nudist so that I could don Barbie in his business suit. I suppose I could have turned Ken into my own Boy George, but the amount of eye contact Boy George made with the camera in his videos made me nervous, so I wasn’t a fan.
I suppose for my age and peer group, I should have been making my Barbies fake out sing along with Tiffany or something, but Tiffany didn’t hold my interest. Annie did. Robert Smith did. Even Boy George did, despite me not wanting to look at the eye region. There was something that spoke to a certain human potential, and they certainly exuded more confidence and charisma than the freshly-scrubbed face of that shopping mall sensation.
Androgyny in music has seen its heyday come and go repeatedly, but the fashion world continues to cash in on the beauty and the potential of the undefinable. Here are some of my favorite, gaze holding, androgynous models.
Martin Cohn is a socialite success story! He doesn’t have to fight the paparazzi like Nicole and Paris did, he models part-time–because that’s what skillful socialites do– AND he’s getting himself an education. Sometimes he acts, sometimes he models, sometimes he goes to clubs, sometimes he does homework.
Andrej Pejic is the new Martin Cohn. Life’s ROUGH, Martin! Deposed! Basically, when the apocalypse draws nigh, Andrej will be the one to blow the first horn. READ: he’s an ANGEL!
Basically, Amanda Moore doesn’t give a shit. She can go from motorcycle rebel to that scary lady that lived in the attic in Jane Eyre like THAT (insert fingers snapping).
Iris Strubegger does androgyny with a sort of scifi android angle. I think it must be her high cheek bones and soulless gaze. Also it helps that she sometimes wears what looks like an entire evil space station.
Finally, Marcel Castenmiller is always listed as an androgynous model, but I’m not so sure he is. I think he might just have long hair. He still seems to be somewhere on the androgyny spectrum though, so I’m popping him in because I love him and his face makes me linger over an ad.
The binary is all well good for what it’s well and good for, but the in between is where you’ll find art that make you question the point of your Barbie. Do they still have Barbies?