"Art School" Disrupts the Runway with Genderplay and Body Diversity
Amidst shows of repetitive traveller fashion trends, it was refreshing to stumble upon MAN's glittery genderqueer outburst, Art School.
Described in their press release as a "nonbinary paradise," Art School cast several models of size, non-skinny models, and more models of color than are usually on the runway. Many models donned brightly died hair and bold make up that at times alluded drag make up. Some of the outfits have a real home made feel — conjuring queer artists in the studio ripping up clothing and sewing their own creations, not caring to leave finishing touches.
In line with Charles Jeffery's queer world, Art School's designer Tom Barratt also has some references to clowns — with bright reds and yellows dots and ribbons and white face foundation — that I interpret as a nod to the queer and trans experience. We wear masks and fake smiles to navigate a heteronormative world.
Though the performers were certainly a joy to watch, the clothing itself could have taken a step further. Vogue criticized the clothing as "not being nearly as fabulous, multifaceted, or fully-formed as the people they clad." It's never easy to break the pattern of High Fashion with diverse models, so I hope that this show becomes a jumping off point for designers to become freer with diversity AND clothing design. As Barratt is a young designer fresh out of school himself, I certainly look forward to seeing how he evolves.
See the full show on Vogue.