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The fashion industry is having another androgyny moment. Style.com recently did a round up of the up-and-coming boyish girls, such as Casey Legler and Elliott Sailors, who are following in the footsteps of industry darling (and now, Orange is the New Black actress Ruby Rose.) Boys and girls wear versions of virtually the same looks on certain runways. Trans models such as Hari Nef have signed to marquee agencies like IMG. You might even say this isn’t an “androgyny moment” so much as the moment when society, spurred on by the fashion industry, began to think about gender in a whole new way.


Maison Valentino has always been associated with a glamorous take on conventional femininity. Proudly associated: Mr. Valentino made it his life’s work to accentuate the beauty of the womanly woman. But that hasn’t prevented Valentino from embracing other visions of womanliness. In 1996, for instance, Valentino commissioned Satoshi Saikusa to shoot models Chandra North and Laura Ponte in the Fall/Winter 1996/97 campaign. The styling of both North and Ponte was decidedly androgynous, and though it wasn’t spelled out boldfaced type, the concept of Saikusa’s shoot seemed to be, “chic-est ever lesbian couple take a trip together.” The campaign was groundbreaking, but in terms of its progressivism, entirely of a piece with the Valentino spirit. Black or white, curves or no curves, gay or straight, the Valentino woman is, above all,worldly. And never more beautiful, whatever her beauty, than when she’s clad in Valentino.


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