Swaths of wool coating and herringbone, wrapped and draped, strong and feminine, Kristen McMenamy’s severe androgyny pierces out from the clothes.
The mood of this 1985 Jil Sander ad speaks to the era’s reluctance to
surrender women to the misogyny of the past. The look is effectively sexless with no attempt to show off the figure. Kristen’s looks make no concession to the conventional standards of beauty and neither do her clothes.
This attitude was championed by other female designers of the decade
including Margaret Howell, Donna Karan, and Rei Kawakubo, with designs that opposed the excess pageantry that was de rigueur of their male counterparts.
A quarter of a century later, the attitude resurfaces in the denial of sexuality as it is defined by our popular culture, embracing unassuming confidence, and a softness that is still hard around the edges.
*onion look, layering various pieces of clothing in one outfit, pioneered by Jil Sander in the 80’s