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Landeros New York Discusses the Intersection of Fashion, Gender & Politics

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Photo by Eric White

"Gender stems from within; we like to present the entire sartorial spectrum without limitations."

Among the NYFW standout shows this season was Landeros New York's fall '17 ready-to-wear presentation, which offered a refreshing collection unafraid to shirk traditional binary silhouettes in favor of an architectural, sexually charged and androgynous lineup using beautiful leathers, wools, furs and unorthodox materials like synthetic PVC.

Related | Designer Andre Landeros Michel is Making Fashion Genderless

Landeros' long, boxy leather gloves and knee-high combat boots created a mixture of industrial worker-meets-super sleuth seductress to an already grungy, in-your-face collection. Baggy knit dresses and flapping, deconstructed trenches added an element of femininity to a decidedly harsh range. Accessorized with small black naval pillbox caps, Landeros felt at once militaristic and unassuming, and a monochromatic color scheme with pops of red gave the entire runway a sense of cohesion.

OUT sat down with head designer Andre Landeros Michel to talk about the collection and his brand's intersection of fashion, gender and politics.

OUT: What prompted the journey from accessory designer for Ladyfag's pop-up to designing your own collection?

Landeros New York: From the inception of the house, my ambition has been to create a full collection and to show during New York Fashion Week. Accessories seemed like a great place to start and what better place than POPSOUK with its New York underground nightlife roots? Nightlife and the underground have been a formative part of my life for years. In short, LadyFag's PopSouk has been--and continues to be--a great platform for the collection.

What's the inspo behind the collection? I'm seeing French club kid-meets-Mapplethorpe-meets-The Matrix vibes.

For this collection, I took inspiration from a multitude of musical and cinematic referents, including the underground New Wave and goth/punk music scenes from the 1980s, as well as the film Rosemary's Baby. I was also inspired by the occult--and early 20th-century seances. As far as muses, the late front man Pete Burns of the band Dead or Alive figures heavily in this collection, as does Siouxsie of Siouxsie & The Banshees.

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Fashion as it fits into politics and the current climate?

Certainly, politics figure into fashion--as we witnessed throughout the collections at this year's New York Fashion Week. My preference, however, is to offer an escape, and, thereby, to enable the collection to transcend a particular situation. I like to imagine the collection as a kind of reverie or dream-state that drifts above the quotidian.

How does fashion work as an expression of gender to you?

Personally, I don't believe that a skirted man is necessarily less masculine than a man in pants. For example, most of us don't regard a woman in a three-piece suit as masculine. Marlene Dietrich in a tuxedo, which has traditionally been male attire, looks tremendously sexual. For Landeros New York, we've adopted silhouettes that, historically, have been labeled male or female--and, instead, we've given both of them a level playing field. Gender stems from within; we like to present the entire sartorial spectrum without limitations.

Fabrics used?

Leather, PVC, metallic wool, double-faced cashmeres, silk organza, silver fox.

Photography: Eric White

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