The ultimate in cross-dressing is surely to convincingly walk the runways of Paris and Milan. That is what the 2 men above have done.
Andrej Pejic (1st image, click for uncropped photo) was born in Bosnia in 1991. He began modeling in Australia at the age of 17, signed with Storm 2 years later, and is now also represented by DNA. He has walked the runway for John Galliano, Paul Smith, Raf Simons, and Marc Jacobs, and has appeared in Japanese, French, Turkish, and Italian Vogue. Most recently, Pejic modeled for Jean Paul Gaultier, closing the Spring 2011 couture collection in the off-the shoulder gown that Rihanna chose to wear to the Grammy Awards this year, and modeling as a male and as a female in Gaultier’s Fall 2011 menswear fashion show. "At the start photographers really tried to work against my look, they tried to make me look more masculine. Now, though, they do play around with it a lot more and embrace and try to accentuate the feminine and I am completely comfortable with that," says Pejic, who has often been mistaken for a girl but doesn't mind. "Well that happens all the time - it kind of always has."
Lea T. (2nd image, click for uncropped photo), the longtime transgender personal assistant of Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci, was cast to model the Fall 2011 line. She appeared with 9 other models in the ad campaign and raised eyebrows when she was singled out in a photograph in French Vogue that made clear her male-to-female transition. She is open about the process, discussing it on "Oprah," and in fact declining Tisci's initial offer to introduce her as a woman. Said the Brazilian model, "The first thing I want you to say is that I'm a transsexual. That's the most important thing."
Daily Telegraph's fashion director Hilary Alexander suggests that the fascination with the androgynous male model might be a reflection of the times: "It's not just a fashion thing. People are more accepting of transgender personalities, civil marriage and gay couples adopting. It's only natural that a transgender person would appear on a catwalk modeling both menswear and womenswear."
In other transgender news:
- Feb. 2009 A German teenager became the youngest person to undergo hormonal therapy and surgery for sex change.
- Jan. 2010 Italy opened the 1st prison catering exclusively to transgender detainees.
- Dec. 2010 A 16-year-old autistic boy has been given permission by the Australian family court to initiate sex reassignment surgery.
- Jan. 2011 A transsexual family in the Czech Republic thinks their transgender status may be genetic.