The past few years have seen such a constant blurring of gender lines (and barriers) in fashion that it seemed only a matter of time before someone revived that most durable and amusing trend — menswear-inspired lingerie.
And who better to do it than Chantal Thomass, the doyenne of Parisian lingerie and an international icon of haute tomboy dress?
Chantal’s fall collection is packed with familiar motifs — bow-tie patterns and a men’s hat print, lace suspenders and a chalk-stripe skirt resembling a man’s business suit.
We’ve seen this sort of thing done many times before, from trashy cosplay outfits meant for a naughty hotel tryst to designer homages from the likes of La Perla, Marlies Dekkers and Canada’s Blush Lingerie.
In the hands of a designer known for her fondness for masculine dress, though, the gender-bending treatment is a bit like an inside joke — knowing, winking and self-referential. Blending masculine and feminine style has been central to the brand’s chic aesthetic for more than 40 years, and it seems like the rest of the world is finally catching up.
Is this collection — introduced with the slogan ‘What if we play the tomboy?’ — a sly tribute to the progressive liberalization of attitudes regarding gender identity around the world, or perhaps a delicious suggestion that the codes of masculinity lie within all women, and vice-versa?
Chantal isn’t saying, but it’s fun to speculate, non?
Below are more images of the Chantal Thomass fall collection, from a brand that consistently sets the bar for evocative lingerie marketing. It will also give you a small hint of what to expect next month when Chantal takes over as guest artistic director at the famed Crazy Horse Paris nightclub for three months, the prospect of which has Parisians tingling with anticipation.