New York Fashion Week highlights the best work of the city’s bustling clothing industry. From large corporations with global operations, to the little, independent designers trying to carve their own lane, the diverse state of NYFW reflects just about every facet of the complicated fashion world. In the same way that plenty of women designers like Dana Lee, Margaret Howell, and Astrid Andersen offer up their own relevant versions of masculinity, there exists an impressive crop of men who have managed to expertly embody the sartorial spirit of femininity season after season.
Among the G.O.A.T.S. you've obviously got Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs, and Oscar de la Renta, but plenty of other guys are carrying the torch in the modern age. In Europe, Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière, and Olivier Rousteing are leading the charge, but America's holding down the crown too. Relative newcomer Kanye West adds a utilitarian vibe to Yeezy Season 2, Jeremy Scott brings his unique brand of lovable weirdness to his eponymous line and Moschino, and Prabal Gurung's impressive career spanning stints under Donna Karan, Cynthia Rowley, and helming his own brand.
For Spring/Summer 2016, NYC's male womenswear designers certainly didn't disappoint. Gurung's Lexus Design Disrupted show stood out not just for the Nepal-inspired collection and the weighty opening featuring a chant led by Tibetan and Nepalese monks, but also the beautiful clothes that spoke to a strong, modern silhouette relevant to how women dress now. The Lexus Design Disrupted event effectively gave even casual attendees a front row seat—Gurung's designs were driven home by 360-degree photography, which provided an in-depth look at the clothes to people who weren't able to make it to the show.
Meanwhile, the slow creep of streetwear influence wasn't just evidenced in new collections, but also in the outfits women donned outside the shows. During exceptionally packed fashion shows like West's Yeezy Season 2 presentation, one could easily see how menswear staples and military-inspired clothes have worked their way into women's closets. Fatigue-colored jackets and jumpsuits add a utilitarian edge to softer skirts and elegant heels, while drapey, dark overcoats worn over sports bras and crop tops provide a balance of sporty sexiness and a quiet-yet-intimidating power. Menswear's own envelope-pushers like Shaun Ross and Eric West expand guys' comfort zones by pulling off risky pieces, some of which may be misconstrued as women's clothes, even if they were designed with men in mind.
As the lines between menswear and womenswear continue to blur before both terms themselves are fully accepted for the social constructs that they are, it's important that female designers with a penchant for masculine aesthetics and male designers who happen to have an excellent grasp of how women want to dress continue to push their respective boundaries. When it comes to clothing from forward-thinking designers, the looks can have an effect on how people dress long after the last look descends the runway.