Womenswear Designed By Men

"So many male designers initially approach fashion as 'art'." This was the first part of the first question in an interview between Jenna Lyons and Cindi Leive for Glamour magazine. The two then went on to discuss clothes for comfort and how Lyons went from being "an assistant to an assistant" to  group president and executive creative director of J.Crew. I suggest reading the interview, as Lyons' tips and story of success is both inspiring and entertaining. But today I want to focus on that first sentence. 

All designers claim that the reason they design is to make women feel confident/comfortable/empowered/beautiful. But how how can a male designer know what the key element to that perfect piece for a female body? They can see what looks ideal, or what looks beautiful, but they can never truly feel the level of comfort or confidence that any given garment has achieved. The designers who, I think, create the most comfortable and casually beautiful clothes are women - Phoebe Philo, Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, and The Row, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Donatella's clothes may not be casual, but they (not-so) simply ooze confidence. The parallel battles of the sexes and clothing design was evident most recently in couture week: everything dreamy and frothy and impractical, still nonetheless beautiful, was brought into this world by a male designer, while the most comfortable and sensible collection was by Bouchra Jarrar, a woman. 

Male designers, ranging from Ralph Lauren to Alessandro Michele, make clothes for a character, a fictional being. However beautiful these designs may be, women appreciate the realness of clothes designed by other women; the comfort of not being in character. It's true that many male designers look at fashion as another form of art, and female designers, like Jenna Lyons, see it more for real-life living. Therefore, today, Valentino, ever the champion, has the best of both worlds. Valentino's creative directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, bring both male and female views to their clothes, and it shows. Female designers capture the comfortable confidence of women, while male designers bring out their beauty and power through clothes.

Céline S/S 2015

Stella McCartney S/S 2015

Bouchra Jarrar Couture Fall 2015

Victoria Beckham S/S 2015

Photos via Style.com.


  1. When entering this debate I always think of the rare occasion where I watched Project Runway (don't know which season or region specifically) but ultimately the winner was a female triumphing over two male counterparts and the comment the judges made was that she knew how to dress the female figure whereas they did not, which I always think is an interesting argument in terms of which designers are most capable and who has a predisposition for dressing women


  2. love it! xx

  3. Men design from a non biased view, women that design for women will always consider what they want to wear- this is why the designers personal style is almost always the same as the clothes they design (Victoria Beckham for example). I totally agree that men design for a "character" or how they wish to see a woman. I suppose it is the same for women designing for men. However some of the most talented womenswear designers are men, Raf Simons, Dolce and Gabbana and even going back to Paul Poiret and Christian Dior. I think in conclusion that men and women are designing for different aspects of a womans life.

    Anna | aforvogue | <a href="http://aforvogue.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/fashion-fades-style-is-eternal-yves.html”>NewPost</a>

    1. Although men let their personal style effect their womenswear design as well, Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, for example, I agree with you in that some of the most beautiful creations for women come from men. Sometimes it takes an outsider's perspective to make something just right!

  4. Great post. I can definitely agree that women would make more of the comfortable clothing because they know what it feels like to wear them. They are accustomed to wearing a pair of jeans or heels and know what it feels like to get uncomfortable after a few hours or her feet hurting after walking in heels. It is also true that there are many male designers that I am a fan of because of their designs. Although, they may not be as comfortable, they attract the eyes and can be as successful or more successful than a women designing clothes. In the end, it all depends but I think this is a good post! Good job


    1. I agree with everything you're saying up until that success bit. The success of a designer is based on so much more than the actual design, which is ridiculous, I know, so comparing male and female designers on that level isn't fair to the garments they create.

  5. Very true! Victoria Beckham is an excellent example - her clothing is womanly without being trashy and sophisticated without being ostentatious. Female designers understand the insecurities of women and know how women aspire to feel (confident, attractive, subtly chic) and can therefore design more successully and practically than their male contemporaries can. Xx


  6. Wow the designs are gorgeous! thanks for sharing this is so fun to read. Do you want to support each other's blog by following each other?:) Please let me know if you do so I can follow you right back x



  7. Post very inspiring