We think NYTimes fashion critic Cathy Horyn is off the mark this week in suggesting that fashion's current preoccupation with gender bending, erotica and sensuaity is just another era in the 'sex sells' mantra of brands and business.
Horyn is correct is writing that business is always looking for the sexual angle, a reality enhanced in the Internet age, when false headlines lure us to stories on Huffington Post and other media with the promise of "topless" and "naked".
What we find is Natalie Portman's lovely back and the strong visual suggestion of nothing on the front. Alas, we came for the front.
PHOTO: Natalie Portman's Topless New Dior Ad via Huffington Post
Cathy Horyn's commentary Pushing Fashion Boundaries in an Era Without Any doesn't get out of her own fashion sandbox.
In dismissing fashion's androgyny moment, the international preoccupation with transgender model Lea T, and Steven Meisel's genderless, naked cuddle puddle Venus in Furs editorial for Vogue Italia, Horyn doesn't acknowledge the possibility that a significent shift is occuring in sexual relations globally.
Posting this morning that 36 percent of Japanese males between 16-19 have no interest in sex, with half using the word "despise" to describe their feelings about the sex act, a non-lurid trend around sexuality is evolving.
Is the trend for men to look like women, and 'handsome' to be the new buzz word for women this week, just fashion's attempt to generate eyeballs and sales at the cash register, when faced with an empty creativity pot?
Global Sensuality Trends
I truly believe something more complex is happening, led by countries with more open attitudes about sexuality than America. The Japanese trend to herbivore men fascinates me, because I consider gender relations in Japan to border on misogynistic towards women.
We know for certain that significantly more women are exploring bisexuality than in past years. Women are notoriously open-minded in our sexual fantasies, based on scientific research and not our answers to focus group questions.
Anne of Carversville and Sexuality News have tremendous sticky traction among women up to age 55, as we demand a partnership with image makers on how women are visualized sensually. In our case, we are pushing the erotic envelope with women on our terms.
Lea T, pictured above with LOVE magazine editor Katie Grand, is the poster person for this evolving sexuaity and appears in LOVE's upcoming 'Androgyny Issue' on news stands February 7. The Daily Telegraph writes the new issue will feature Lea T, Kate Moss and teen idol Justin Beiber, whose look has inspired Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber.
As one of the star writers in fashion, I wish that Cathy Horn would have made the point that just perhaps fashion and culture is returning to where we lived editorially in the late sixties and seventies.
When one examines old issues of American Vogue, we are struck by just how far backwards fashion editorial slid in exploring female sexuality in its pages.
With sex-obsessive, Conservative men like Dan Gainor peering through lace panties in Maxim, on the hunt for publc hair, American fashion lost any meaningful relationship to sensuality and sexuality under the Conservative morality police mandate.
We support the current trends in fashion, style and culture media exploring sexuality and gender on every level.
The biggest question for us is if the Internet -- which offers endless digital portfolios of sexual junk for inquiring minds -- also enables us with an ability to wrestle control of how sexuality is expressed out of the hands of traditional media.
The stimulus for such a trend comes out of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and a host of other countries besides America.The Internet joins us all seamlessly, wherever we live, creating a new combustion of ideas and opportunities for creative sensual expression.
China, Brazil and India Will Impact Sexuality Trends
Cathy Horyn wrote recently that she made her first trip to China, an admission that came as a big surprise to us, given the global nature of fashion for the last decade. Our sense is that countries like India, Brazil and China will have great impact on sexuality trends.
In total, they are less conservative countries than America, when the subject is sex. Note that we do expect China to focus much more on obvious luxury Wall Street style, than sensuality. Yet, China may surprise us.
India and Brazil absolutely hold out hope for a strong impetus towards a less violent, less moralistic exploration of human sensuality and sexual relations.
The Scandinavian countries are the most advanced in gender relations and are sending superbly positive new media image makers into the fashion pot.
Brazil is almost certain to stay the course towards a more progressive vision of sexuality. India has internal pressures but with a quota mandate to put women in positions of power in governing, we believe that India will retain its inherently positive -- if Victorian warped -- vision of sensuality.
Any discussion of sexual trends should consider the question beyond fashion's myopic sandbox, even if style is a major visual interpreter of sexuality trends. We don't believe that Carine Roitfeld pushed the sexual envelope at Vogue Paris just for eyeballs and ad revenue.
Carine Roitfeld is a woman on a mission, and so am I.
We see the end of America's warped, puritanical, unhealthy obsession with controlling sexuality as key to the future of American society. It's the battle between the Mama Grizzlies and the Snake Charmers, an almost schizoid event 50 years after the second wave of American feminism. Anne
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