Why Jaden Smith Modelling Louis Vuitton Womenswear Is Great For Men's Fashion

Esquire's Style Director Teo van den Broeke on gender fluidity, and why he's not ruling out wearing dresses

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17-year-old Jaden Smith (son of Jada and Will) was revealed this week as the new star of Louis Vuitton’s Spring Summer ’16 womenswear campaign.

Photographed by Bruce Weber, the campaign features Jaden (pictured alongside three female models) wearing a knee length skirt with a tasseled top beneath a cropped leather jacket.

It’s not the first time young Jaden’s worn a skirt; the teenager sported a layered tunic to Coachella last year and he has been photographed several times in his native California sporting some form of LBD.

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Though some will scoff, the reality is Jaden looks remarkable. It might be something to do with his genes, but Will Smith Jnr manages to make the clothes look both edgy and interesting, without seeming exaggerated, silly or overtly politicised.

Smith's ability to make the clothes look good is exciting. It challenges the status quo. How refreshing to think that a whole untapped wardrobe of garments may some day soon be available to us if we want them. How liberating to think that in the future we might be able to dress in fabrics and shapes formerly off limits to us.

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That Jaden is brave enough to ignore gender stereotypes and express himself by wearing the clothes he wants to because he likes them is an extraordinary step in a world which is gradually learning to view gender as a fluid concept.

It’s an issue which is cropping up everywhere. From the transgender politics tackled in Transparent – the excellent Amazon Prime drama that tells the story of a sixty-something father of three transitioning from a man into a woman – to Bruce Jenner's dramatic transformation into Caitlyn and Eddie Redmayne’s depiction of transgender artist Einar Wegener in the Danish Girl (out now), it’s never been a more tolerant time to question your gender.

Though the majority of us probably won’t be wearing dresses any time soon (though rest assured it’s not something we’ve ruled out) the shift is being played out in other, slightly more subtle ways throughout the fashion industry.

Beautifully intricate lace shirts and trench coats were sent out at Burberry Prorsum for Spring Summer ’16; creative director Alessandro Michele put pussy bow blouses and lacey shorts at the centre of his recent menswear collections for Gucci, and at Prada’s Autumn Winter ’15 shows both the mens and womenswear (shown on the same runway) looked more interchangeable than ever.

The best way for you to do it, if you're not feeling ready to wear a skirt just yet, is to absorb softer block shades of pastel into your wardrobe, embrace floater fabrics than usual and think about a slightly softer silhouette. You might not look as cutting edge as Jaden, but it’s a start.

What do you think?

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