Celine Dion Launched a Gender Neutral Clothing Line, Hereby Ending Gender

Her heart may go on, but gender is canceled.

Spurred by a trip to Disney in which all of her kids wanted to be Disney princesses instead of Marvel superheroes — which like, same — fashion icon and diva Celine Dion has launched CELINUNUNU, a gender-neutral kids clothing line, in partnership with the brand NUNUNU. (Cue the screams of 10 interchangeable blonde Fox News anchors!)

After the trip to Disney, Dion said that she supported the children’s exploration.

“And then I’m saying to myself, you know what, it’s okay,” Dion said in an interview on Morning Express with Robin Meade. “You know why it’s okay? Because they’re talking, they’re finding themselves.”

“I’ve always loved NUNUNU and what they represent,” Dion said in a statement, as reported by People. “Partnering with Iris and Tali to encourage a dialogue of equality and possibility makes so much sense.”

She also said, “CELINUNUNU lets children choose outside stereotypes and norms so they can bring from within their own tastes and preferences. We help them feel free, creative, inspired, respectful of one another and happy in the world.”

Along with the launch of the line, Dion released a pretty over-the-top (even for Celine) commercial in which she, perhaps, plays a secret agent? Out to exterminate gender? In the trailer, she walks through a baby ward separated out by oppressive blue-and-pink blankets, sprinkles black Celine dust on them and they instantly become swaddled in black-and-white futuristic Celine couture.

It’s perfect.

Gender is quaking. Never has it been this close to being extinct.

Dion has become something of a fashion icon in the last year, ever since she began being styled by America’s Next Top Model host (and out gay man) Law Roach.

You can check out the line at the official CELINUNUNU site.

Victoria’s Secret Has Always Been A Problem

Transphobic comments made by Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer of L Brands (parent company to Victoria’s Secret), went viral across social media platforms and queer media outlets this past week.

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” Razek told Vogue. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.”

While Razek has since issued an extremely half-assed but predictable apology (“it was never about gender”) it hasn’t been successful in repelling the tidal wave of criticism against the lingerie and swimwear giant.

Interestingly, a boycott of the upcoming Victoria’s Secret 2018 Fashion Show was already in the works. In mid-October, model Robyn Lawley took to Instagram to critique the show’s lack of size diversity: “Victoria [sic] Secret have dominated the space for almost 30 years by telling women there is only one kind of body beautiful.” Lawley encouraged followers to sign a Change.org petition — enough is enough — and use #weareallangels to showcase their diverse beauty (each post results in one donated bra to homeless women and girls around the country).

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I have started an online petition -link in bio 👆 JOIN ME and lets help change the minds of Victoria’s Secret to be more diverse and inclusive of body shapes and sizes on their runways! Victoria Secret have dominated the space for almost 30 years by telling women there is only one kind of body beautiful. – you can read more in the link of my bio why it’s so important to encourage diversity for our future daughters sake. Until Victoria’s Secret commits to representing ALL women on stage, I am calling for a complete boycott of this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. It’s time Victoria’s Secret recognized the buying power and influence of women of ALL ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. The female gaze is powerful, and together, we can celebrate the beauty of our diversity. It’s about time Victoria’s Secret celebrated the customers that fuel its bottom line. Will you join me? 1 Sign the petition! 2 Encourage your friends not to tune in or attend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show share a photo of yourself on Instagram, as you are (not airbrushed and beautiful), use the hashtag #weareallangels to share what makes you uniquely beautiful, please tag me so I can see (@robynlawley) and @ThirdLove For every person who shares a post with #weareallangels hashtag, ThirdLove will donate one bra to @isupportthegirls (a national non-profit that collects and distributes bras to homeless women and girls around the country !!!)

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But Victoria’s Secret has always been a problem, and when a story like this gains traction and saliency through its intersection with queer identity it’s important we take time to situate it within its broader history of offense.

Let’s begin by picking at a few loose threads: in late 2011 an investigation by Bloomberg Markets exposed that Victoria’s Secret was using child labor from Burkina Faso in its cotton production, under the false pretense that it was “fair trade” and organic. The fashion label maintained its innocence, claiming not to have known about the child labor issue (which included malnourishment and abuse) as production was managed by Fairtrade International.

Woven into its very fabric is also a long and exhausting history of racism and cultural appropriation. Karlie Kloss’ 2012 mishap of walking the show in a Native American Headdress didn’t stop VS from using tribal and Native American-inspired costumes for their 2017 Nomadic Adventures segment in Shanghai. Nor did the immense backlash from the 2012 Go East “Sexy Little Geisha” outfit (which VS consequently removed from their listing) prevent them from revisiting the commodification and appropriation of Asian cultures in their 2016 The Road Ahead Paris show. It seems as if Victoria’s Secret treats culture like it does its lingerie: easy enough to wear, but even easier to remove.

The 2017 Victoria’s Secret show in Shanghai marked the first time in its history that 50 percent of the models were women of color (55 models from 20 different countries). Yet not even a racially diverse cast could prevent a racist slur from being deployed at some point in the broadcasting.

Racial profiling at the Victoria’s Secret signature stores is also incredibly common. Earlier this year a woman returned to a VS store after an employee had accidentally left a sensor on a bra she had purchased. Upon explaining the situation to the manager — and presenting a receipt — she left her bags at the counter to continue shopping, until a police officer put her in handcuffs for shoplifting. “I think it was for the simple fact that I was black,” she said. In December 2016 a Black woman in Alabama was asked to leave a Victoria’s Secret store because another Black woman was allegedly being accused of shoplifting.

It’s almost incredible how racism and cultural exploitation has managed to pass through each point of Victoria’s Secret assembly line: from its child labor induced production to its artistic appropriations, the models’ representation, down to the store culture itself.

Within Razek’s ridiculous apology lies another important issue: Victoria’s Secret will always be about gender. The very core of its branding and approach to beauty is the creation and reproduction of anxiety within women, and fantasy within men. It taps into a cisgender heteronormative ideal because that’s where it centers its purchasing power and potential. Victoria’s Secret is in the business of making women feel inadequate and easing some of that inadequacy through consumerism. It’s objectification, just as it is a regurgitation of the patriarchy. It’s the consequence of having Ed Razek — a white cisgender male — at the helm. One could argue there’s an empowerment angle to Victoria’s Secret — the models might feel good walking it, you might feel good wearing it —  but I’d push back and ask whether empowerment is the ever same as power? Because who ultimately stands to benefit/profit most?

Many of our certified gay icons have contributed to the Victoria’s Secret fanfare: Lady Gaga in 2016, Ariana Grande in 2014, Harry Styles in 2017. This year: Halsey. But it’s important we don’t become distracted by shiny things and we understand the wider culture we’re perpetuating when we actively celebrate these moments. Beauty and fashion are largely celebrated by queer people because they’re vehicles for our individual expression and diversity. Ed Razek’s comments are hurtful and damning because we invest parts of our identities (whether financial, emotional) in these industries and our representation within them.

But I don’t think the answer lies in looking to reclaim Victoria’s Secret. Our queerness shouldn’t be defined, or limited by, our ability to change and influence institutions — there are far, far too many ugly seams to unpick. Instead, we should measure our queerness in how we set the old tapestries alight, and stitch new ones — brighter ones — in their place.

Victoria’s Secret is that it’s always been a problem. Maybe ours is that we never wanted an invite anyway.

Images via Getty

20 Queer Q’s with Rooney

The 20 Queer Qs series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.

These intimate conversations aim to leave you feeling like you just gained a new friend or a new perspective.

Get to know New York-based artist and illustrator Rooney, whose work explores contemporary queer culture. He’s worked with Google, Instagram, Converse, and other brands. You might recognize the Queer sticker he designed for Instagram’s Pride month. Learn what he feels most insecure about, his hopes for the LGBTQ+ community, and more.

Name: Rooney

Age: 28

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him

Sexually Identifies As: Gay with a Queer Sensibility

1. What do you love about the LGBT community? I love that being queer and part of the community has freed me from a lot of societal expectations and allowed me to create a community in an organic way that feels natural and has no rules.

2. What does pride mean to you? It means that we celebrate ourselves not in spite of our differences but because of our differences. Queer diversity is so beautiful and I have so much pride for my own and how others express theirs as well.

3. Who is someone you consider to be an LGBT icon? Keith Haring is one of mine. I know I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing as an artist without the contributions of many people, but specifically him. I draw a lot of inspiration visually, conceptually, from him.

4. Do you think LGBTQ+ youth have it easier now? I don’t. I think they have a lot more resources and visibility, they have access to a lot more than I certainly had growing up. I don’t think that makes it easier, but it makes it more bearable.

5. What advice do you have for LGBT youth? It’s gonna be okay.

6. Who is the most important ally in your life? It’s a tie between my mom and my sister. From coming out onward, they have been so understanding and patient and supportive and want to know about how I’m growing into my queerness. Not because they’re entertained, but because they’re getting to know the full me.

7. Do you believe in love? I do believe in love.

8. What are values that you look for in an ideal partner? Someone who wants to grow with me, to celebrate my growth as I celebrate theirs because we’re not going to be the same forever. Someone who can adapt and who wouldn’t be jealous of my growth and vice versa.

9. Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words. Cute, Fun, Complicated, Frustrating, Exciting

10. What hopes do you have for the LGBTQ+ community in the future? I would hope that we continue this legacy of fearlessness and really actively demanding more from the world, society, and our government for actual, true equality for all queers throughout the spectrum. Even with Trump’s nonsense, I’m not super affected, but I should as a queer person care for others who are actually far more vulnerable and actively lifting them up and fighting with them.

11. What’s your earliest memory where you felt you were different? I remember spending a lot of time alone and in my head. I remember sometime around fourth grade realizing that that wasn’t the case for everyone. Fourth grade for some reason really sticks out because I think I was getting picked on a lot which awakened me to feeling different. But I also had a teacher who I adore to this day who would pull me to the side and assured me that I was special, loved, and that it was okay to be different.

12. What do you feel most insecure about? My creative vision, which is odd because I am so comfortable and confident with it but when I’m not feeling confident bout it, I’m wrecked.

13. What is the title of the current chapter of your life? Reign of The Red Devil.

14. What is a quality you find sexy? Self-love.

15. Do you feel that people are as authentic online as they are in person? It’s really complicated. Yes and no and I think that applies to the same people. I feel for me, what you see online is what you get IRL. There’s more to me IRL and there’s also so much I want to put out there. I think for the most part you are. We think we’re a lot more mysterious than we really are.

16. Have you ever / do you still feel uncomfortable holding another guy’s hand in public? Yes, and I think at least in some way I always will. I think there will always be this thing even if it’s tiny, I have this sense of alertness and who’s around me and it sucks.

17. What are deal breakers for you when dating someone? Any kind of femme shaming. Also anyone who’s not a fan of Carly Rae Jepsen.

18. How much does your LGBTQ+ identity play into your overall identity? Hugely. I’ve never understood the second I came out this whole thing where “being queer doesn’t define me.” When it totally defines me. Everything I’ve done in my entire life is based on my queerness. It is at my core who I am and is the reason I’m able to live authentically and happy.

19. Fill in the Blank: In 5 years I want to _________. Have made as much progress as I have in the last 5 years, that would mean a lot to me.

20. What value/quality has being queer given you? What have you gained? Fearlessness. I’ve always had it in me I believe, but nothing has ever given me permission to own it as making it my choice like my queerness has.

Stay in touch with Rooney’s work on his Instagram and head over to his shop for your fill of queer apparel and pins!

Saturday School Is Making Cool Queer, Feminist, and Cannabis-Themed Fashion

Trevor Larson and Bridgette Bayley have worked for some of the most successful street brands geared towards women in the last decade, including Wildfox, Jeffrey Campbell, and Nasty Gal. When it was time to move into launching a brand of their own, the openly queer President and Vice President of Saturday School knew they wanted it to be a cross section of culture and comfort; niche and nostalgia. 

“Saturday School is kind of a reflection on our time growing up in the late ’80s and mid-’90s and the culture that we took away from that, combined with the current climate of legalization of cannabis and acceptance of queer culture,” Larson tells INTO. “All of this stuff that was really counter for us 15 years ago, 20 years ago, which is now kind of mainstream, which we now want to celebrate that with a look back of retro vibes but with more inclusiveness.”

The new line of retro-inspired graphic knitwears launched this past spring, and is already building a favorable following on Instagram and among the likes of Mila Kunis and Jonathan Van Ness. Saturday School’s back to high school-themed lookbook has highly-teased hair on cheerleaders with bad attitudes and cigarette-smoking bad asses in rainbow stripes, all shot on analog film and Polaroids to help build on the vintage aesthetic. 

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*in the land of earthquakes and high crime rates*

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“We tried to do a little bit of an authentic spin on things when we can,” Larson says, such as “changing the saturation of the color so it looks a little bit different than what you’re seeing everywhere else.”

“But because we’re so new at this point, we’re putting a lot of what we want to do for the line out in the universe and seeing what the reaction is,” he continues, “and it’s really exciting.”

Larson says that the items bearing retro rainbow designs have been getting “the strongest reaction,” and that retailers and customers alike are not only loving the LGBTQ connection, but also the design.

“This spring collection has some really cool T-shirts that have rainbow hits just in the right places. We also are combining that rainbow print with a lot of like really bright colors, so rather than just printing on a white or black, we’re printing them on cerulean blue or bright purple or maybe colors that you wouldn’t typically think are going to work,” he says. “But we’re finding that the customer’s really responding to that and we definitely plan on keeping that a pivotal, core part of our DNA going forward.”

While most millennial women’s brands focus on cutesy heteronormative phrases, Saturday School is more interested in speaking to the rebel girls; the ones who want to wear shirts like “Stay Young Get Stoned” and “American Teen Princess,” a nod to Drop Dead Gorgeous rather than a literal statement.

“The main thing that separates us from another graphic apparel line certainly is the quality,” Larson says. “Both [Bridget and I] come from fashion brands that really put an emphasis on the touch and the quality to the hand and everything we do is made in America which is really important. That first of all will distinguish the product from what you can find elsewhere in the market.”

Saturday School’s shirts are as soft as they are stylish, with desirable oversized fits that allow for many different bodies to try them on for size. They currently size from extra extra small up through double extra large, which, because it’s a relaxed fit, can fit bigger than what that size may normally cater to.

“We know that the average American consumer is now a women’s size 16 and most contemporary brands don’t even produce a size that accommodates that,” Larson says. “We don’t consider calling it plus or consider it different. We don’t have a separate size scale.”

And while the line is being marketed toward women, Larson says the intent is for Saturday School to be for everybody. They have plans, he says, to shoot unisex styles on people of all genders and the drag community in an upcoming lookbook.

We do have plans to bring in men’s styles — but men’s would be in air quotes because eventually, we want to make the line essentially unisex,” he says. “We want everyone to be able to wear everything and so eventually, we’ll probably not distinguish any sexes on anything and it’ll just be about the fit.”

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*i put a spell on you and now you’re mine*

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Since the launch, Saturday School has primarily been sold in specialty boutiques and online. With 30 retailers as of press time and deals with Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom coming to fruition, Saturday School is eyeing an even bigger fall with a presence in several brick and mortars.  But when it comes to serving big box stores with queer and cannabis-focused content, Larson says he is finding Saturday School to be right on time.

You know, five years ago where it would be really, really difficult to sell a big box national retailer a graphic that has a reference to cannabis or a pot leaf, now we actually have some of these retailers specifically asking for it,” he says. “An account like Bloomingdale’s, who used to shy away from that, is really coming specifically for those edgier graphics, and not just for markets where it’s been legalized. They’re really looking to bring cannabis culture directly to [consumers] because they’re getting people who are interested in it.”

Netflix Ruined ‘The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia, Your Favorite Video Game Hunk

Of all of the horrible things to happen in 2018, I didn’t think the spirits would wait until Halloween day to drop the most horrific atrocity upon us. The Witcher, the popular video game and book series, is being made into a Netflix series — and so far, it’s not looking great.

The lead character of the game, Geralt of Rivia, is known in the gaming community as a Hot Dad (that’s the scientific term). Netflix cast Henry Cavill as Geralt back in September, and everyone was onboard. Where could it go wrong? We have a giant video game hunk and literal Superman, perfect fit — until now. Netflix released a teaser for the show, just showing a brief clip of Henry Cavill in costume. And it was terrible.

I don’t know if Netflix overthought it, or didn’t think hard enough, but it’s not working. First of all, let’s talk about this ugly ass wig. This is the definition of a Party City wig, except not even from the costume section. It looks like it’s made out of a reused fiber lamp. I don’t understand why it’s so long; Geralt invented the grey short ponytail for men, why are we taking that away from him?

Furthermore, the whole appeal of Geralt is that he’s kind of roughed up, but still warm. His body is covered in scars, but he’ll still going to ask you to text him when you make it home all right. He’s like Kratos’ cousin who minored in poetry. Right now, Cavill is too kept and pretty; he is giving me Legolas’ mean older brother Gregolas.

Does Henry Cavill have something against facial hair? The internet exploded when they saw his Mission: Impossible mustache and yet, Geralt remains clean shaven. Maybe Netflix just doesn’t understand that the demographics for this upcoming show are going to include a lot of women and gay men who want to see their hunky dad in live action. You have to give the girls what they want.

Netflix producers, if you want to know how to improve Cavill’s costume, I’m here for you. We want similar things, I’m sure. You want people to watch the show, I want to watch the show, but you have to give me some reasons. For inspiration, let’s look at one of the more iconic scenes from The Witcher 3, the bathtub scene. I saw a million memes about this bit before I even owned the game.

If you want to know what the audience wants, it’s this. Big hulking, grizzly man in a bathtub. He needs to be emotional and shirtless like half of the time. He needs to have a lot of sexual tension and he needs to be stern, but caring. If you can accomplish all of that, we can probably look past this Party City wig.

Literally What Do Straight Nerds Spend Their Money On?

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, the guy that I’m dating sent me a video from Twitter about a new clothing brand, Cloak, that was marketed especially “for gamers.” I was instantly confused yet amused. Cloak was created by Mark Fischbach and Seán McLoughlin, two gaming personalities who are known as Markiplier and Jacksepticeye online. What a nonsensical idea — why do gamers need their own clothing brand?

“There has never really been a brand out there for people like us, who game all day,” McLoughlin said in the announcement video. “There’s companies out there like Nike, who cater towards athletes. There’s companies like Patagonia who are more for people who want to go outdoors. There’s people like Lululemon who cater towards people who do yoga and things like that, but I don’t really do any of those things.”

McLoughlin goes on to say that he never felt like there was a brand out there that fit him in the same way. I thought this was just hilarious until I clicked the site and saw that every single item was sold out in literally three days.

Okay, now you’ve really lost me. Why do people who play games need their own clothing? Athletic wear exists because there are specific fabrics and designs that make it easier for people to work out or keep warm in nature. You don’t need anything specific to sit at your computer or on your couch — I would know because that’s literally all I do. You can wear whatever you want when you’re gaming or you can be like me and wear nothing even though you are playing in the common area of your apartment and your roommates hate you — hey, Marisa and Aaron! Literally half the reason no one wants to go outside is because you have to wear clothes.

Look I get it —I buy some dumb shit, too. My weakness as a gay man is buying cute shit that I’ll never use. Two weeks ago I spent like 40 bucks on a big plushy of Umbreon, a queer legend, sleeping. It’s adorable, I love my child, but I know it’s still dumb. That being said, at least my dumb Pokémon plushy serves a purpose that I can’t get anywhere else. These clothes are just black, grey, reportedly comfortable and have the word “Cloak” on them. I guarantee that you can find equally comfortable clothes at any number of retailers.

OK, straight men. I usually tune you out when you talk, but I’m all ears. I’m trying to understand what would compel someone to spend money on something like this. Cloak isn’t even the only clothing brand targeting gamers. Another company, Ateyo, has the tagline “Look good. Game better,” and frequently uses professional gamers and streamers in their advertising.

Ateyo as a brand has slightly more personality, so I get the appeal of that, I’m just confused by the concept of branded basics. Why not just get sweatpants? I feel like my mom trying to understand Snapchat.

The only explanation I can make sense of is that people just want to feel included or cool and no matter how dumb something is, the proper advertising will get you on board. So maybe that is the disconnect. It’s not that I don’t understand the product (which I don’t) but it’s about being the appropriate audience for the advertising (which I’m not).

One of the most blatant examples of this is when Ateyo did a parody cover of Lil Pump’s “ESSKEETIT” with a professional Overwatch player. I don’t watch that video and want to be associated with that brand; I look at that video and want to throw my computer out the window.

This content feels like it was made for fans of Logan Paul, and perhaps it was, so I am not the one. Which is fine; I don’t need to be the demographic for every advertisement — God knows queer folks are not the demographic for gaming anyway. Straight men, you’re allowed to buy whatever you want, just try to keep it off my timeline.

Does This Perfume Make Me Smell Gay?

There’s a whole lot of things American men won’t do because people might think they’re gay. They don’t dance. They won’t carry a bag. They won’t take pains over their appearance – and if they do, other men will come up with an emasculating and demeaning term (“metrosexual”) to describe them.

Sadly, this is the uptight, repressed audience that most fragrance manufacturers are marketing to, which is why your local department store’s fragrance counter is as rigidly gender-segregated as a swim team practice in The Handmaid’s Tale.

An alien trying to study human culture via a perfume counter would conclude that on Earth, all girls wear pink and smell like flowers; all boys wear blue and play with trucks. Pile this depressing message of heteronormativity atop the bewildering array of bottles bearing what looks like the same name with different adjectives (Allure Homme Sport Bleu Extreme, anyone?) and the general pushiness of sales personnel and shopping for a fragrance to augment your personal style can feel like doing your taxes but with 80 percent more dizziness and headaches and 100 percent less fun.

It’s my totally non-scientific theory that the bulk of men’s fragrances are bought by gay men, so why is this section of retail the most gendered and reductive? LGBTQ people should be the first to cast off stodgy, outdated concepts of gender, particularly in 2018, a time when fashion seems determined to break all the rules it can get away with. (Calvin Klein, it’s worth mentioning, has released two unisex fragrances and actively promoted them in queer-positive advertising, CK One and CK All.)

NBA players carry chic designer bags, women regularly dress like future warriors in Hunger Games boots, Blade Runner hair, and superhero leggings. If the shoe fits, our times ask, why not wear it on your head? So why can’t we get this kind of freedom and sense of play at the cologne counter?

Actually, we can. There are more than a few fragrance companies that no longer market fragrances directly to men or women (Tom Ford, Jo Malone, Dyptique, Comme de Garcon), but let the customer decide what gender their perfume is. Companies like Armani, Chanel, and Guerlain have launched luxe lines of perfumes that are non-gendered.

Frédéric Malle is neither a perfumer nor designer, but more of an impresario like legendary Ballet Russe patron Sergei Diaghilev. His company, Editions de Parfum, asks legendary perfumers to create their dream fragrances.

Except in the cases where the fragrance name indicates (as with Geranium pour monsieur and Portrait of a Lady), these exquisite fragrances are non-gendered. My first Editions de Parfum favorite, Vetiver Extraordinaire, is a deep-voiced masculine-leaning composition, wet, rooty and dark.

However, two newer fragrances, Cologne Indelebile and Eau de Magnolia, open with floral notes, but where department store fragrances for women would turn too-sweet and floral, these fragrances remain proudly androgynous, ready to be worn by anyone.

Eau de Magnolia is a particular revelation to anyone who has lived in or loved the south. If perfumers go near the loud, lemony magnolia blossom, it is typically only to throw some dime store faux pearls around its neck and run away, making it smell like your seventh grade English teacher.

Eau de Magnolia luxuriates in the half-citrus/half-flower mystery of an unadorned blossom, followed by greenish leafy accords that bear the glowing white bloom offstage on a sedan chair. It’s an intriguing smell and kind of a riddle when worn by a man.

“What’s that you’re wearing?” people ask all day. “It smells so familiar, but…”

The aggressive freshness of Eau de Magnolia works for me as an alternative to many of the currently fashionable mega-clean men’s fragrances like Chanel’s Bleu eau de toilette, which mainly smells to me like a very, very fancy deodorant stick.

This summer’s eau de parfum version of Bleu is another matter entirely. I checked it out just to see what the more-concentrated, denser version of that blue deodorant stick would smell like.

Initially, I thought this must be a mistake, Bleu eau de parfum comes out of the bottle singing soprano. Something this sweet and breezy, I thought, is surely from a brief for a woman’s fragrance. Maybe they got mixed up at the factory, then decided the mistake was a good one.

Then, as the bright, almost floral opening notes fade, smells of leather and tonka bean give a sense of depth and heft to the mix. Chanel’s website assertively markets the Bleu line to men, but lots of women could just as easily pair it with jeans and a favorite sweater and call it beautiful.

The release I’m personally most excited about, however, is the expansion of Thierry Mugler’s “Cologne” collection. In 2001, Mugler released the simply-named Cologne in a tall, clear bottle aimed at any and all genders.  The bright green juice inside smelled like a steamy shower, with soapy neroli, petit-grain and spiky vetiver complimented by a “mystery S note.” It was a small revolution at the time, when the Number One men’s fragrance was the wildly generic Acqua di Gio, another inoffensive deodorant stick with nowhere to go.

Now, the original Cologne has been renamed Come Together and it has four colorful new siblings, I Love You All (blue), Fly Away (yellow), Take Me Out (orange), and Run Free (purple). The names sound like song titles and the company encourages mixing and matching the different fragrances to create a personal favorite remix.

The playfulness and gender fluidity of this collection is thrilling to me, an invitation to experiment and recombine their creations and make them yours. All four new fragrances are good, hewing faithfully to the original Cologne’s combination of bitter and sweet, clean and dirty.

My favorite, surprisingly, is the one most people identify as the most feminine, Take Me Out. It opens with a spray of white flowers, chiefly orange blossom, then inserts tangy grapefruit rind into the spaces where vetiver grassed up the original and saved it from being just another nice neroli fragrance.

Maybe some people will smell me on the street or in the bookstore and think I’m wearing women’s perfume, or that I smell “gay,” but mostly they’ll probably be thinking the same thing I am, “God damn, that smells good.”

We Need to Talk About Rachel Weisz’s Outfits in ‘The Favourite’

I’ll say this: We do not deserve the Lesbian Works of Rachel Weisz. I’m not sure what Sapphic wave washed over her this year, but between her lesbian sob story, Disobedience, and her new lady-loving dark comedy The Favourite, I feel as though there’s an altar I should be praying to, or something, for more Gay Weisz Movies. What do religious people do, give offerings? Donate? Whatever—I’ll do it. I just feel like we, as a nation, are unworthy of two extremely lesbian Rachel Weisz movies in one year, but I’m ready to convert to whatever denomination will turn out the quickest results for more of her queer works. Take my money, Rachel!

Her latest film, The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), follows an 18th-century lesbian love triangle between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), Lady Sarah Marlborough (Weisz), and Abigail (Emma Stone). Can you believe? Seriously, we are all fucking trash next to this cast.

In the sharp British comedy, Lady Sarah is the Queen’s most trusted confidante and advisor, as well as longtime secret lover — the two have been friends since childhood. The seemingly guileless Abigail, a distant cousin of Lady Sarah, arrives at the Queen’s castle seeking employment. She and Sarah at first form a camaraderie, but we quickly see Abigail’s devil horns, and she manipulates her way into the Queen’s life and bed, which leads to a vicious and murderous competition between Sarah and Abigail—who will be the Queen’s “favourite?”

I’ll tell you who the fuck is my “favourite,” and it’s my gay mom, Rachel Weisz. Trust me, you don’t know the meaning of the phrase “power bitch” until you’ve seen Lady Sarah grab the Queen of England by her throat, shove her up against the bedpost, and ask through a naughty smile, “Are you scared?” Yes, bitch, I’m shaking like an animatronic Skeleton doll in CVS. Besides her detached love language, which made Queen Anne crazy, and her persistent, sharp-tongued, misandrist roasts, it was Weisz’s costumes that made me run for the hills (to masturbate). Each one was so British and so masculine yet somehow still edgy and femme, it made me want to move to 18th century England, contract smallpox, and die slowly in her arms. Here are the best ones.

The “Move, Hets” Mens Dress

While in the court, pushing men around, drinking wine, and presenting as “a lady,” Sarah is often dressed “appropriately” for her gender during this time period, in lavish, busty dresses and elaborate updo’s. But on her own time, while pushing men around, scheming, and plotting your demise, Sarah doesn’t perform femininity as she’s expected to. Instead, she often opts for more brawny outfits, like this get-up that says, “Move, Hets, I’ve got a gay gun.” In this scene, Lady Sarah shows off her impeccable aim while gunning down birds and staring threateningly at straights. But never look her British hat, white coat, or frilly turtleneck in the eye, or she will point her weathered musket toward your skull and say “Be gayer!” And trust me, you will be gayer. I certainly am.

The Hard Evidence That Chokers Are Gay, Even in the 18th Century

Here, Lady Sarah sports a mantua dress, clad with a lacy bustier and a pool cue to beat the fuck out of her oppressors. Also, don’t you find it convenient that Lady Sarah happens to be queer and happens to be donning an 18th-century choker necklace? Well, it looks like chokers weren’t just gay in 2015 and gay in the early 2000s, but they were also a subtle hint to other Ladies of the Court that they were down with the clitness. Apparently, chokers were the 1700s’ very own gay nod.

The “British are Cumming” Hat

This look is pretty straightforward: pearls, another mantua, its femininity dressed down with a typically male hat, and dangle earrings made from the bones of all the women who ghosted by galloping away on a horse and never sending letters again. I would let Lady Marlborough ghost me. I would gladly receive a letter via horse that just read “wyd” and was sent a fortnight ago at 2 a.m. The things I would let her to do me in this outfit. I want Rachel Weisz to call me treasonous, tie my ankles to a rope, attach it to her horse, and drag me through the dirt until my cholera gets cholera. Look, I don’t know what cholera is and I don’t know much about the 18th century, I just know that there was cholera.

Gay Mud

One of my favorite Lady Sarah getups is the one where she’s nude in a bathtub with Queen Anne, dangling the Queen in front of Abigail in a vicious power play. The mud was good. The mud mustache was very good. 10 out of 10 would bathe in mud with Rachel Weisz, running the risk of contracting a yeast infection that kills me. I’m really caught up on the diseases in this era. When was penicillin invented? I’m not a scientist. All I know about are lady suits, the name of every actress who’s played gay since the 60s, and that mud is gay now.

 

The Favourite hits theaters November 23.

Queer-Friendly, Feminist-Focused Brand Wildfang Opens Up Bi-Coastal Shops That Double as Safe Spaces

Women’s fashion and lifestyle brands have long sought to earn that highly-coveted pink dollar, but rarely have they cared to cater to those who might not want to wear feminine cuts and silhouettes. Instead, how about a fitted three-piece suit? A pair of joggers? Jeans that aren’t “borrowed from your boyfriend,” but instead, created for women and nonbinary people’s bodies, and a concentrated effort to reach an audience ignored by traditional advertising. 

Some fashion houses have become less gendered and more accessible in sizing and what they consider womenswear vs. menswear, but fewer have created more options and fostered more goodwill than Wildfang. The Portland, Oregon-based brand (named after the German translation for “tomboy”) launched in 2012 after co-founder, CEO, and CMO Emma McIlroy left a cushy job at Nike with her then business partner and co-founder Julia Parsley to launch what would become a highly-successful queer-owned and inclusive feminist-leaning company peddling clothing, accessories, and other wares. (Parsley has since left amicably, no longer looking to work in fashion.) Their online shop and early investments helped to create their flagship shop in Portland, which was followed by a second and just this year, New York and Los Angeles locations (Soho and Silver Lake, respectively.)

Their Wild Feminist slogan Ts, The Future is Fluid campaign with Tegan and Sara, and campaigns with the likes of Kim Gordon, Evan Rachel Wood, Sara Bareilles, and Riley Keough, to name just a few, have helped to spawn a cult-like following among queers and feminists. But outside of making feminism and tomboy fashion accessible and on trend, they’ve also raised a ton of money for charitable causes. In 2018 alone, Wildfang has raised $450,000 for non-profits — $300,000 of that went to RAICES after the brand responded to Melania Trump’s highly-politicized Zara coat reading “I Really Don’t Care Do U?” by turning a similar green jacket into “I Really Do Care Don’t U?” all benefitting the organization that paid for legal services for refugees and immigrants.

The whole team was like just wrecked in the office,” McIlroy tells INTO of the campaign. “We’d been completely depressed all week watching those kids in cages and then she wore that jacket and it was like ‘Fuck this. We got to do something about that.’ It just felt like insult to injury, so the entire team felt a collective outrage.”

McIlroy credits her team (many of whom have been part of Wildfang from the beginning, including Creative Director Taralyn Thuot) for the kinds of causes the brand aligns itself with, and also for what McIlroy sees as walking the walk.  Over the last few years, feminism has become more fashionable, and big box brands like Forever 21 and Top Shop have attempted to profit off of regurgitated original ideas from the likes of Wildfang and Otherwild, another queer woman-owned shop whose Future is Female shirts became popularized after being spotted on celebrities like St. Vincent and Cara Delevingne.  

“I’ve always said that it’s not my space,” McIlroy says. “We didn’t create it; we stand on the shoulders, so I welcome people into that space. I think it would be fucking great if every company in the Fortune 500 identified as a feminist company. So I welcome people into the space. I think the deal is are you walking the walk as well as talking the talk? Are you giving back? Are you representing your community? Are you here representing an entire population of women? Are you giving women a platform? Are you standing up and fighting for gender equality? Are you standing up and fighting for trans women?”

Walking that walk includes expanded sizing and utilizing models of size as well, McIlroy says. Some models are first-timers, trainees who learn on the job but often get booked by agencies and other brands after working for Wildfang.

“[Representation of our community] is built into the core of our model, and therefore we hope that our community trusts us to authentically represent a really wide spectrum of individuals,” McIlroy says. “We show our clothing on three different body types. We are a small business — that means we triple our production costs, right? But at the end of the day, if you’re a size 20, you can’t buy off a size 2 model. That’s just a joke. You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Right now, Wildfang originals and collaborations go up to size 20, but the brand has plans to offer up to 26 in the near future.

Is that good enough? No. Is there still room to go? Yes,” McIlroy says. “But for the size of our business, it’s not a bad effort and when we have size 18 or 20s, it’s very specifically built. It’s not like some crappy fit, like these pants fit on a ton of people who have those sizes. We’ve redone the pattern, we’ve redone the grading, so when we put that expanded sizing on the market, we want to make sure it’s going to be fucking good and we want to make sure we’re shooting it on people who identify as that size so it’s a much easier buying process.”

Since launching in 2012, Wildfang has seen some competitors in the feminist/androgynous clothing space close up shop. The big box stores and brands move on to the next trend they can bite off, and yet, Wildfang is opening shops in two of the hippest shopping areas on both coasts. McIlroy attributes that kind of success to letting their values guide them — to working collaboratively as a diverse team that decides where the effort is being placed.

“We wear our hearts on our sleeve,” McIlroy says. “We take every conversation with the same values in place. It’s not like we make decisions for business reasons or commercial reasons — we make decisions for brand reasons. We come back to the same set of values on every major decision, which keeps us putting it in a very clear direction.”

Their current collaboration with Refinery29 is a mid-term election push encouraging women to vote. The Just F*cking Vote Collection features T-shirts that read “She came, she saw, she f*cking voted” and “On the left side of history,” among other items, all benefitting She Should Run, an organization helping to fund women looking to run for political office.  

“The intention is to change the state of our beautiful planet,” McIlroy says. “We’re trying to get more women to get into leadership, local and national level in politics, and yeah, we’re trying to use direct communications and platforms to get first time voters right to the polls — because I read some really depressing stats about…I think it’s like 40 percent of young women in America say they might not vote and 30 percent aren’t sure if they’re registered or not. So we felt like whatever we could do to just continue to remind or hit them over the head it’s completely critical that they vote on November 6th. If there’s anything else they fucking do for the rest of the year, it is vote.”

With so much of Wildfang’s efforts going into philanthropic efforts, McIlroy finds it amusing when people assume she and her team are personally profiting from their own community. In fact, most of the time, they are putting money into their efforts and, in effect, losing money.

“It’s super simple math and I only care about the people [who benefit],” McIlroy says. “Because I got to write a $300,000 check for the lawyers who are trying to get the kids out of the cages.”

That doesn’t mean Wildfang has any plans of slowing down. Instead, they’re looking to create more physical connections with their current and future fans, which is why their stores will also host regular feminist events. Last night, their Portland store hosted a panel called “Women Who Lead: A Discussion and Celebration of Leadership” with Adrienne Nelson, the first Black Supreme Court Justice, and Rukaiyah Adams (Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust), Joy Davis (CEO and Founding Partner of Design and Culture Lab), and politician Margaret Carter.  (One hundred percent of donations collected at the door and bar tips, as well as 10 percent of sales were given to Justice Nelson’s campaign.) Tonight, the L.A. location will host its launch party and, every weekend this month, offers free feminist tattoos and tarot card readings.

Posted by Wildfang on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

“I think it was first and foremost the ability to bring Wildfang to life in person and to build a community,” McIlroy says. “So much of the cool stuff we do happens in a physical environment, and so for me, it’s all about that community. It’s all about Wildfang being so much more than a place where you buy shit. It’s a place that you connect, it’s a place that you feel safe, it’s a place that you feel at home.”

At a time where women-centric spaces are shuttering and under attack by men’s rights activists, Wildfang has become that virtual and physical manifestation of a space for wild feminists and their supporters. (Wildfang collaborates with and sources from menswear brands like Publish, Volcom, RVCA, and Obey who share their brand values and missions.)

“It’s our community and whatever they believe it to be it is,” McIlroy says. “I know at the end of the day that we’re making a massive impact in people’s lives. And I know that we’re doing our best to represent it and conversations around gender, conversations around representation, conversations around gender labels, social norms, all that stuff and we do a huge job of giving back and we do it in the right way. So whatever people think about us is their perception and I have no problem with it.”

Images via Wildfang

20 Queer Q’s with Robyn Kanner

The 20 Queer Qs series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.

These intimate conversations aim to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend or a new perspective.

In a new 20 Queer Q’s, get to know designer and writer Robyn Kanner, who was written for The Atlantic, The Cut, and Bustle

 

Name: Robyn Grace Kanner

Age: 31

Preferred Pronouns: She/Her

Sexually Identifies As: Queer

1. What do you love about the LGBTQ+ community? I love that it’s complicated, that’s the big thing that I really love. The complications used to make me mad, happy, joyful. It’s interesting, very complicated, changing, and it’s never the same. At the same time it’s very validating. 

2. Talk about your first queer kiss. It was with this guy in my high school in rural Maine where I grew up. We were in the cafeteria and there was a rumor going around that I was gay because I started to wear a lot more pink, and this guy who was sort of queer and maybe a little more flamboyant than me, kissed me. It was odd, what I wrote when it happened was that he kissed me like a boy who kisses a boy and I needed him to kiss me like a boy who kisses a girl, and that’s how I still feel about it. Even later on when I go on a date with men, there’s only been a few men who know how to kiss me like I like to be kissed and it’s a specific feeling.

3. How did you feel attending your first Pride? Pride is weird for me, I never really liked that space. I went once when I was 25 with an ex boyfriend of mine and I remember not even liking it. It was just one of those – it was such a performative space for me where I felt so solid in myself of just being present and there was this huge performance of pride that people love, and I love that they love it, but it’s just not for me. Because I feel like my personality is one where I’m never going to glam the room up and that’s a very Pride thing.

One of my first Pride experiences, there was this one gay bar in Maine and there was a guy who was a drag queen there I had crush on. He and I went out after I skipped most of the Pride things. I went to the queer bar in Maine, and I made out with him in the backroom of this gay club and at the end of making out he said this line to me where he said, “You don’t have to be a tranny, you can be a drag queen.” because I was clearly trying to be a girl. I hated that moment so much and that was so indicative of what I felt Pride to be, so I’ve always kept a bit of distance away from it.

4. What does Pride mean to you? I think it’s supposed to mean that “you can’t hurt me” thing. You take up so much space that you can’t get hurt and I love that concept of Pride very much. So the idea of Pride has changed very much from Marsha P. Johnson’s Pride to when it was corporations like Uber’s Pride. I think Pride sometimes is a party for straight people in the same way I think a lot of queer content isn’t produced for me and I’m totally fine with it. I never sat down and thought to myself “I’m gonna watch Queer Eye because it’s going to improve my queerness.” It never will, but I’m glad that they’re doing it, it’s just not media that’s for me.

5. Do you think LGBTQ+ have it easier now? It gets better, does it get easier? Easier yes and no in some ways. I think the fact that we’re having this conversation, yes, that seems much better. I think that trans women especially, you couldn’t get access 10 years ago. When I first started transitioning, they wouldn’t give me hormones. So that’s a gap where now the fact that I can kind of walk into a space and get stuff makes things easier. I don’t think that everything is better because of it but a lot of things are easier.

6. What’s advice you have for LGBTQ+ youth? Get a notebook and write everything. Don’t perform for anyone except yourself. Be really unapologetically yourself.

7. Do you believe in love? Yes.

8. What are values that you look for in an ideal partner? Somebody who’s really good at thinking and somebody who I really love to hear things from, that has strong opinions on something, who observes the space really well, somebody who can feel and experience things. I love when I’m attracted to someone and before I say it, they know it, because they’ve experienced it. It feels like they know me, it’s this shared experience thing.

9. Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words. Wonderful, Euphoric, Desirable, Meandering, Grace

10. Use 3-5 words to describe your coming out experience? Neverending, Exciting, Boring, Complicated, Vibrant.

11. What are stereotypes you’re tired of hearing about queer people? I hate when people expect me to perform femininity and it’s a thing that happens less inside the queer community and more outside. I think when people meet me, they think because I’m trans, I’ll wear a skirt everyday and that’s not me.

12. How do you feel about LGBTQ+ representation in media? Garbage and great at the same time. I think POSE rules and shout-out to Janet for getting it through. I think Laverne is doing great. Imogen Binnie is the freshest writer ever in the queer community. I think Jen Richards, Angelica Ross, and Mj Rodriguez are brilliant. I think all the people who did the groundwork and shouted the loudest in 2013 are now starting to have their day and I love that.

13. What hopes do you have for the LGBTQ+ community in the future? We’ll get over our trauma, we’ll stop performing intersectionality and actually act on it. I think a lot of times when it comes to race, white queers fuck it up all the time and just absolutely perform this way of creating spaces without creating space. That thing where you go to an event where there’s one black person, one trans person and then a sea of white gays.

14. What is something you want to change about yourself in the next 6 months? I would like to write faster. I want to spend more time in my home state, Maine.

15. What do you feel most insecure about? My brain, that I’m not smart. That inner competitive thing that I feel like a lot of queer people don’t like to talk. I want my shit to be fresh and I have insecurities when I don’t think it is.

16. What song makes you feel the most confident, makes you feel better about yourself? Runaway” by Kanye West.

17. What are deal breakers for you when dating someone? People who fan my content, people who don’t have aspirations. Whoever loves me has to love something else more than me.

18. How much does your LGBTQ+ identity play into your overall identity? It’s a part of me. It’s not this one little piece of me, but it’s this fluid piece of me that moves throughout me and touches all of me.

19. Fill in the blank: In 5 years I want to _________. Tell the dopest story that breaks your heart.

20. What value/quality has being queer given you? What have you gained? I’ve gained self, identity, this ability to ask questions. I feel like before I was audibly queer, I was bad at asking questions whereas now, I’m curious about the world and being queer has given me space to do that in a way that I really appreciate. I talk about being queer being a complicated thing which it is, but it also gives me my every bit of life and I love that.

Stay up to date with Robyn and her work and other projects over on her Twitter and Instagram.