For quite some time now, the fashion industry has been criticized and renowned for cultivating a very exclusive standard of beauty. More often than not, the prototype remains white, adolescent and impossibly skinny. While multi-racial, sized and aged models have been getting booked more this year, Riccardo Tisci recently called attention to another model minority group. Just for fun, I thought we’d discuss that for today!

For his Givenchy Fall 2010 campaign, Tisci casted his longtime transgendered personal assistant Lea T. (formerly known as Leo) alongside nine other models. He explained that including a transgender person exemplifies the masculine-feminine dichotomy that has become one of his design signatures for the brand.

Many have tipped their hats to Tisci for establishing progress for a model minority group that even the masses tend to overlook. Even if Tyra Banks first made a public show of embracing transgender models in ANTM Cycle 11 with Isis King in 2008. 

She even gave King a gender-reassignment surgery on her talk show! But all that would’ve been nicer if it didn’t seem as too much of a publicity stint. Banks did however, manage to shine the light on the struggle of the aspiring transgendered model.

Here are some of the more popular models of the sort; some successful, some outcasted.

Angel Paris-Jordan, April Ashley, Roberta Close, Amanda Lepore

Harisu, Caroline Cossey, Parinya Charoenphol, Bibiana Fernandez

Givenchy’s Fall campaign though, seems to have properly casted the transgendered model into the spotlight. Contrary to those who believe the casting a mere gimmick, Lea T. has gone on to walk in Givenchy’s haute couture show, and posed for Italian Vanity Fair and French Vogue.

French Vogue had Lea T. exposing a hint of genitalia. While she looks absolutely stunning, I can’t help but see a tinge of objectification within the shot – was there really a need to blatantly expose her sexuality? Does it celebrate her individuality or only highlight her difference? Or was the shot necessary for cultural impact through culture shock?

Because personally, I thought Lea T.’s Givenchy seamlessly androgynous campaign was tastefully done to similar effect. What do you think?



[Photo Credits: antijen, artistquirk, abeni-gale, nymagharisu, theperfumedcourt, mjnewsuk, youthwant, poptimal, dollymix]