Sexuality is always in style. For one, it is essential to the survival of the human species, therefore unlike sleeping and eating, sexy is not going away. And sexy? Sexy is unique. Fashion-wise, sexy has been a bit off-message in recent years. Sexy has never been hip.
But as Justin Timberlake put it, sexy has recently made a strong comeback. The milkmaid dresses of summer are being retired in favor of thigh-high boots with your miniskirt, as seen on Kate Moss on the Tommy Hilfiger front row in New York, or corsets were worn under your blazer (see Alexa Chung in a corset dress under a leather jacket at Miu Miu’s Paris show). Having worn flat shoes for ten years, the slingback kitten heel is now hanging from the bar.
In contrast to last year, when wearing expensive pajamas to parties was the in-thing, cocktail dresses are making a comeback in 2022.
The sleek minimalism of Old Céline—a funnel-neck knit, a wide-legged pant, a silhouette that only hinted obliquely at the body beneath—and Gucci’s baroque maximalism—nerdy tailoring under piles of bling, or costume-drama lace blouses with tracksuits—have served as the bookends of the past decade in fashion. The main focus was never on sex appeal. Athleisure, which shows the body as practical and pure even when wearing skintight clothing, and streetwear, which tends toward the larger, are two potent current trends. For a very long time, simplicity was the pinnacle of sophistication.
The body is back though now. As current a fashion statement as an extra huggie hoop or two on the earlobe is a glimpse of a lacy bra. According to the fashion search engine Tagwalk, 59% of collections from the most recent round of fashion weeks featured overt lingerie. For the first time in a long time, belts are being used to constrict waists. Even a brunch bustier exists, which you should wear with low-slung jeans while fawning over the server.
After her most recent Paris catwalk show, which featured Bella Hadid in a catsuit that appeared to be a skin-tight, crystal-studded fishing net, Stella McCartney said, “I wanted it to be seductive again.”
When dressing herself and her catwalk models, Victoria Beckham, who for a decade promoted the pussy-bow blouse and midi-skirt as a date-night ensemble, has reduced the number of layers. As she put the finishing touches on a Paris collection that was dangled from the flimsiest of spaghetti straps and teetered on high shoes, she commented, “Suddenly it doesn’t feel current, to be buried by all that clothes.”
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