What attracts lesbians

Why lesbian codes are becoming more and more important in fashion

In this gallery: 3 pictures

For years, Hollywood star Kristen Stewart headed the worst-dressed lists of fashion magazines; too boyish, too little glamorous for many fashion editors was their leaned L.A. skater style - skinny jeans, chucks, biker jackets, baseball caps. Stewart, who already cultivated the boyfriend look when it wasn't a look at all, was a kind of pioneer for a new casualness in women's fashion.

The same super-sexy outfits are boring, normcore and street style have conquered high fashion, sneakers take the place of high heels. Both the image of women and men have changed massively in recent years, they have become more playful, more open, gender fluid, so to speak. Men wear ruffles, women wear clothes that deconstruct their bodies instead of just emphasizing their curves. With her tomboy style, Stewart fits perfectly into a fashion world in upheaval that questions classic gender attributions and proclaims a new unisex coolness.

The fact that Stewart recently came out as a lesbian, she is currently dating the British "Victoria's Secret" model Stella Maxwell, is not surprising, especially in the fashion context. Never before have there been so many openly lesbian or bisexual models and actresses - from Cara Delevingne, Ruby Rose, Amber Heard to the androgynous Tamy Glauser, who is currently posing in a men's suit in Vivienne Westwood's current campaign.

Lesbian Eldorado

"Fashion is a lesbian Eldorado if you know how to read its symbols," confirms Wally Salner, who ran the fashion and design label fabrics interseason together with Johannes Schweiger and is now professor of fashion at the Academy for Fashion and Design in Munich , with a research focus on queer codes. "TV series such as" The L-Word "or" Orange Is The New Black "have also contributed to making queer styles more visible. The genres of tomboy (butch) and lipstick lesbian (femme) have now arrived in the mainstream in abbreviated form."

As early as 2012, the fashion platform "style. Com" asked: "Is lesbian chic here to stay?" At least it seems that way: In his current campaign for spring / summer 2017, Saint Laurent designer Anthony Vaccarello has models sitting with their legs apart, in the video that takes place in a sexually charged, androgynous club, it is mainly the girls who cuddle with each other. In terms of outfits, however, it is difficult to distinguish between men and women.

In fashion circles, it's hip to be - or at least to look like - a lesbian right now. Although it is of course not that easy to say what a lesbian outfit is without falling into clichés. "The stereotyped idea of ​​a tomboy look is commonly perceived as a lesbian style (because it seems male-conform)," analyzes Salner. "However, the performance of a high femme with feminine connotations is very easily swallowed heteronormatively, is only visible to a few or is misunderstood as normative." Although: The gender theory of Judith Butler, which assumes that both femininity and masculinity are a construct that we "perform" our gender, has now leaked more broadly.

Man or woman in dress

Does it really make a difference whether a woman or a man presents himself in a sexy dress with high heels? After all, both play a role. In any case, self-confident young men no longer have a problem with wearing "more feminine" items of clothing; they don't have to act tough guys to feel like a man.

At the same time, fashion is fascinated by the last remaining subcultures, by groups that have their own (fashionable) language. Now that youth and pop culture have become completely commercialized and often devoid of content, it is interesting that there are still communities with their own behavior and clothing codes.

Subculture in popular culture

The heavy metal scene with its Gothic characters, which are currently being copied up and down in fashion, has shown itself to be persistent with regard to a fixed aesthetic; and queer clubbing. For a long time it was mainly gay subculture codes that prevailed in popular culture (leather, bikes, denim, mustaches). Historically, these codes are actually subtle identifiers for gays among themselves. With the rise of the hipster, the distinction between who is gay and who is hip but straight is no longer that easy.

In exaggeration, it can be said: The queer scene is becoming more and more diverse - the straight people look increasingly queer. In the "New York Times" the journalist Krista Burton recently wrote ironically "Hipsters Broke My Gaydar", which can be roughly translated as follows: The hipsters make it impossible for me to recognize who is queer. "Hipster style is actually a lesbian style: flannel shirts, heavy boots, undercut hairstyles, outdoor jackets and eating organic food. That describes the stereotype of a lesbian." So basically we all look a little lesbian right now. With this in mind: Butch up your life! (Karin Cerny, RONDO, 6.3.2017)

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