Unisex Attitude - Authentic Androgyny
Championing the mainstream versions of femininity or masculinity has never been an objective for Studio Nicholson. Whilst many brands still feel the need to delineate the borders between the sexes, founder and creative director Nick Wakeman has always preferred the frisson of a more blended, equal approach. Imagery, text, messaging and colour maintain an androgynous flair that resonates with all people, regardless of gender. It’s a formula Wakeman instigated at the very start, and one that has dominated every collection since.
The term androgynous stems from the Latin ‘androgyne’, which describes the unification of male and female characteristics. It’s the magic of hard and soft, a means of incorporating the best of both worlds into one single aesthetic, a rebellion of social convention. By steering clear of stereotypical modes of dressing and making the decision to blur the outdated distinctions, we can welcome a new type of styling freedom. Ditch the ritual of what’s accepted and stride out in threads inspired by uniforms of the opposite sex.
When you amplify the proportions of the clothes you wear, it’s a way of reintroducing yourself to angles of the body you might have previously ignored. Tuck oversized shirts into voluminous pants to draw more attention to the waist. Let the balance of a big knit tip backwards to reveal the back of the neck, unbutton cuffs and roll up sleeves to draw attention to wrists, watches or jewellery. A shirt screams out for decolletage (Jane Birkin does this best) and wide-legged denim always deserves a flash of ankle to prevent any fusty, outdated workwear connotations.
Adding these subtle punctuation marks makes such a difference. There’s a real need for skin to keep the look feeling modern. It’s a masculine energy in a female form. A liberating freedom with roots in practicality - always worth remembering though, that there’s nothing sensual about garments that don’t fit properly, so it’s important to understand that true androgyny needs a seriously good cut. Clothes need to feel convenient, playful and built for moving around in; designed for the human being to feel confident wearing. Self-consciousness has no place here.
Layer up, or layer down, it’s totally up to you. Stride out in the Conde Jacket, the cornerstone of the modular wardrobe. Team it with nothing but a paired-back vest (Tilda Swinton takes bare collarbones and tailoring to another level) or contemporise the predictable by slipping your technical waterproof components underneath instead. The things you wear should feel natural, authentic and comfortable; there’s nothing sexier than someone who can snatch the best bits from the opposite gender and make them their own. Would David Bowie have been as alluring without his make-up? Probably not. When you unlearn the rules, the universe opens up.
Leanne Cloudsdale is the Studio Nicholson Editor-at-Large
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