When one of the world’s most famous fashion houses Saint Laurent signed up female model Saskia De Brauw to front their menswear campaign, the message was clear. There’s a new wave of androgyny sweeping the fashion world. ‘Fashion is being very brave right now and I celebrate that. It feels like a pretty special moment because there are a few of us androgynous models who are doing this - and we look fierce. There is something in the air,’ Casey Legler told Grazia when we tracked her down in Brooklyn last week.
Casey is the woman at the heart of the new model wave. At over six-foot tall with piercing blue eyes and a signature gap in her front teeth, the 35-year-old model is joining a group of models including Andrej Pejic and Lea T playing with the lens of gender. She was photographed for a Muse magazine feature entitled ‘Out with the Boys’ and tells us she 'showed up wearing my usual outfit of jeans, a black jacket and those trainers. Part of it was getting everybody else to participate in something that maybe felt unfamiliar to them in a way that it didn’t to me. I regularly get people thinking I’m a guy because of my clothes and that I’m tall – and I embrace it.’
Saskia de Brauw For Saint Laurent
It's a similar story for Saskia De Brauw who has spoken out about posing for Saint Laurent. Designer Hedi Slimane chose the model's androgynous look to showcase his menswear collection and with that boyish crop and skinny suits, Saskia makes the perfect boy-girl. Speaking to i-D about the shoot, Saskia reveals she initially didn’t even know it was for menswear. 'To be honest, for me it wasn’t even clear we would be shooting a men’s campaign. As the day evolved it became evident that he wanted to use me for his men’s campaign.'
Despite Slimane keeping the gender-bending up his sleeve, it sounds like Saskia was more than happy to play the part. 'The pieces are classics. I think they will appeal to both men and women in the same way,' she says. 'I know that my boyfriend would love to buy some pieces and so would I!' And just like Casey, Saskia confesses that she often gets mistaken for a man on the street, 'In Paris I often hear “bonjour monsieur”', she says.
When we spoke to Casey, she told us she hopes her modelling – and new-found fashion fame – will help others embrace their gender differences. ‘In modelling I’m saying it’s not so black and white. It requires a lot of courage to go up against what people expect of genders and if I am able to be an example that allows it to be easier for everybody else to be themselves, I’d like that. My body is my vehicle and I’m curious to see where it’s going to go.’