[There's] a growing tension between those who feel they are discriminated against and those who feel somewhat favored by a perception, largely unexamined, that men are better designers than women, and gay men are the best designers of all....Isn't that a classic stereotype about women? We don't trust each other!
Many female designers perceive that their male counterparts have won more industry honors and are featured more prominently in magazines. On television, they note, advice on style and design is almost invariably sought from a vibrantly gay man - witness "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the new "Isaac" talk show with Isaac Mizrahi on the Style channel and "Project Runway" on Bravo, which began its second season on Wednesday night. Its cast of 16 includes 8 male contestants, 7 of them gay, a spokesman for Bravo said....
Of the young American designers most embraced by retailers and celebrated in the fashion press in recent years, the roll call is almost exclusively male: Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez and Mr. Som as well as Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. Their female contemporaries have had a harder time breaking through, among them Behnaz Sarafpour, Alice Roi and Ms. Subkoff.
"Gay men stick together like a band of brothers," Ms. Subkoff said in an interview. "It's more common for a man to bring up a younger assistant" who is male "and be proud of that," she added, "whereas a woman would be threatened" to promote another woman.
In some quarters, the perception exists that fashion's main consumers, women, are more comfortable taking advice about how they should look from a man. "Men are often better designers for women than other women," said Tom Ford, the former creative director of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.... "Of course there are many more gay male designers," Mr. Ford said. "I think we are more objective. We don't come with the baggage of hating certain parts of our bodies."We don't trust each other!
Michael Vollbracht, the current designer of Bill Blass, said he believes that gay men are demonstrably superior at design, their aesthetic formed by a perception of a woman as an idealized fantasy. "I come from a time when gay men dressed women," Mr. Vollbracht said. "We didn't bed them. Or at least I didn't. I am someone who is really pro-homosexual. I am an elitist. I am better than straight people. Women are confused about who they want to be. I believe that male designers have the fantasy level that women do not."We can -- we do -- trust gay men. Is that the answer?
Maybe this is the best explanation:
The large number of visible gay men in fashion, say many in the industry, traces to the fact that Seventh Avenue has seemed a less homophobic career choice than, say, law enforcement or Wall Street. And the prominence of gay men enjoying fame and prosperity draws others into the field.A lot of women are drawn into fashion too. But it may be that the most competitive and talented women are spread out into many fields, while a very large proportion of the most competitive and talented gay men choose fashion. Still, discrimination against women may well result. The chances seem high that these men, once there, benefit their own kind. Why should ambitious gay men be any different from any other sort of ambitious human being?