Lez Chic: Black and blue are the warmest colors


Beyoncé guru and Flawless Feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie penned a column in the March 2014 issue of Elle about why smart women choose to be fashion averse, as if looking good were antithetical to having brains, at least as construed by patriarchal culture:

“Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance. For serious women writers in particular, it was better not to dress well at all, and if you did, then it was best to pretend that you had not put much thought into it. If you spoke of fashion, it had to be either with apology or with the slightest of sneers. The further your choices were from the mainstream, the better. The only circumstance under which caring about clothes was acceptable was when making a statement, creating an image of some sort to be edgy, eclectic, counterculture. It could not merely be about taking pleasure in clothes.”

She concludes with what seems to be a missing verse of her vocal track on “Flawless”:

“I no longer pretend not to care about clothes. Because I do care. I love embroidery and texture. I love lace and full skirts and cinched waists. I love black, and I love color. I love heels, and I love flats…. I admire well-dressed women and often make it a point to tell them so. Just because. I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I feel again myself….”

Adichie’s piece, too, bespeaks the historically predominant, countercultural effort by lesbians to refuse fashion—most evident, I think, in the ostracizing of femme lesbians from the subculture as not being “queer enough.”

To this, I quote the beautiful Janet Mock: “Get it the fuck together.” lesbians!

With last year’s “Lesbian Chic” trend, in addition to the establishment of a number of fashion lines designed with an eye for queer women, there has been a noticeable shift in how lesbians ethically and politically relate to fashion. To reflect that shift in attitude, as well as to further champion fashion as the ultimate techne for the stylization of one’s own gendered body as well as one’s ethics, I welcome you to AfterEllen inaugural style column, “Style is the Lez.” Here, we’ll talk about the various modalities of style in culture, whether its in the form of a trend report or an interview with a queer fashion designer. I’m also fielding questions for a Q&A section of the column; you can reach me at @MBHauteWriter on Twitter.

“To ‘give style’ to one’s character—a great and rare art!” — Nietzsche

The Fall 2014 lines from New York to Milan showcased a few trends—textured, shag pieces, monochromatic reds, andro-casual garments—but the sophisticated colorblocking trend of black and blue became elevated this season, more so in than the past. Victoria Beckham arguably began the contemporary machination of this trend in her fantastic Spring-Summer 2012 line, and the shows of Fall 2014 transformed her very simple use of these colors into a aesthetic wonderland, filled with intricate and often bold patterns, with “blocking” subtly evident in a cuff or daringly cutting at the waist.

Jill Stuart - Runway - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014Jill Stuart, Fall 2014 (NYC)

Versace - Runway RTW - Fall 2014 - Milan Fashion WeekVersace, Fall 2014 (Milan)

The palette of the Versace show in Milan relished itself in black and blue (and some red), as did many other shows on the international runway.

Blue was not restricted in shade; in fact, the blocking-effect becomes highlighted the sharper, or more vibrant, the blue:

Concept Korea - Runway - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014Concept Korea, Fall 2014 (NYC)

Blumarine - Runway RTW - Fall 2014 - Milan Fashion WeekBlueMarine, Fall 2014 (Milan)

Lesbians, rejoice: black-and-blue pantsuits are totally de rigueur—need I even point to Michelle Rodriguez’s supposed “international sapphic journey” companion, Cara Delevingne, as evidence?

Mulberry Dinner To Celebrate The Launch Of The Cara Delevingne Collection

If you’re a broke lesbian and are, like Paloma Faith, “[getting] desperate sometimes / feeling black and blue,” have no fear; Target, the American utilitarian capitalist machine, has brought this trend to the people with their “Minimalism” campaign featuring Mossimo:

Black-and-blue is the new black, at least this coming season, and offers a fun divergence from the typical browns of the fall season.

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