A word of warning to fashionistas everywhere: you’ll want to carry a cozy wrap with you next spring, because it’s going to be a chilly one.
And we’re not talking about the weather. Next spring’s ready-to-wear collections from leading design labels from New York to Milan feature an unprecedented number of daringly sheer and barely-there ensembles, many of them inspired by the lingerie-as-outerwear trend.
If recent fashion seasons have seen designers flirting with that concept with coy layered looks, for SS2015 they are letting it all hang out … so to speak. Forget about teasing glimpses of bra straps and bare backs: it’s time for the big reveal. Get ready to shiver.
A month of fashion weeks in major cities is winding down this week in Paris, and it has yielded a cornucopia of radical new ways to explore and expose the feminine form.
Opaque crepe and tulle were abundant and those revealing lace dresses that houses like Versace and Givenchy popularized in recent years are now a template for bold new interpretations of what is possible, and what’s permissible, in fashion today.
Crop tops, corset dresses and gymwear-influenced designs were evident in dozens of fashion week collections. But that’s just the start. Kimonos, camisoles, negligées and other familiar lingerie staples were also pressed into service as evening dresses or as part of a smart-casual streetwear ensemble.
Among the more creative ideas: Phillip Lim transforming a karate gi into a crop top, complete with an obi belt; Organic by John Patrick utilizing bicycle shorts under see-through pants; and the venerable Aussie swim and clothing brand Zimmermann creating a lavish hybrid of bathing suits and glamorous boudoir fashions (without explaining where one might wear such heavenly outfits).
For some designers, lingerie-themed creations are a nod to tradition and vintage glamour — Jean Paul Gaultier resurrected his corset legacy for his final RTW show in Paris, while Dolce and Gabbana turned Spanish bullfighting costumes into lingerie pieces for their spectacular Milan show.
For younger labels, though, all this overexposure has both a political and feminist resonance. In Paris, Alexis Mabille presented some shocking pieces that leave nothing to the imagination (and no bow ties to hide behind!), as if daring women to show off that inner confidence everyone talks about. In London, meanwhile, rebel fashion collective Fashion East and its former member Ashley Williams used graphic prints (above) that seemed to push back against censorship and creeping conservatism with a Free-The-Nipple message.
And while all this was going on, Italian hipsters Au Jour Le Jour made the whole innerwear-outwear distinction moot. They served up a color-blocked assortment of sheer tops over colored undies that will turn heads on any street in any city. Now, who will be brave enough to wear them?
Below is a selection of our favorite lingerie-inspired looks from SS2015 Ready-To-Wear fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. It would be impossible to acknowledge all the sheer and opaque dresses on the runways, so we’ve focused on styles that incorporate lingerie shapes in creative ways. The photo at the top of this article shows (from left) Alexis Mabille (Paris); Dolce and Gabbana (Milan); and Betsey Johnson (New York).