“A woman dressed as a man must be at the height of her femininity to fight against a costume that isn’t hers.” (Yves Saint Laurent)
SAN FRANCISCO (Yves Saint Laurent Exhibition at the De Young Museum) —- We started chatting in front of the YSL pantsuit Nina Kempner wore to a trendy New York restaurant in 1968. The maitre’d would not let Kempner in as she was wearing pants. So she dropped her pants, handed them to her partner and strolled in wearing only the jacket (which doubled up as an ultra mini dress)
The little old lady told me she met with a similar incident. It was in the late 50s when she was a girl-about-town. She and her girlfriends were not allowed into the cinema as they were wearing pants. So they went to the car-park, rolled up their pants to a knee-high length and put on their trenchcoats to cover the pants. All the while hoping that the pants would not fall down as they attempted passing the cinema security barrier.
How we often take wearing pants for granted today, when it was only 50 years ago when our grandmothers were not allowed to wear them in public!
Indeed, women today are still rebelling, or putting a positive spin, asserting their individuality with their fashion choices. I was immediately reminded of my trip few years back to Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Prior to the trip, I had the mistaken impression that all Middle-Eastern women were non-individuals in the fashion-sense, with their compulsory, all-black uniform of the hijab.
I was proven wrong (and quite happily so). Despite their all-black attire, the women had asserted their individuality by having embellishments such as sequins and embrodiery on their hijab. I was particulary impressed with one lady who had a bling-bling sequinned skull on hers!
Truly, this exemplifies the spirit of “I am woman, hear me roar”. Asserted through fashion choices, that is.
What’s next, ladies? What have not we conquered?