Fashion Month: Deconstructing Sexy at Milan Fashion Week by Christine Göös
Here is a million dollar question if I ever saw one: is sexy actually sexy anymore?
The pouty-lipped, bootylicious Kardashian aesthetic aside, it does seem that the ship has sailed on the suffocated, Victoria’s Secret cleavage brand of sexy that reeks of vanilla with a hint of desperation.
The Angels aren’t en vogue (or on Vogue) anymore, the declining sales prove it.
If bodycon is too obvious and breasts declared passé, what is sexy these days?
As it is fashion month, I looked no further than to the mecca of classical sensuality: Italy. More specifically, the collections presented at the Milan Fashion week.
The Italian sexy is founded on the celebration of excess: think Gianni Versace and his gilded medusas, Sophia Loren’s perfectly teased hair, Dolce & Gabbana’s countless variations of the hip-hugging floral dress.
This time around, the Italian collections revisited la dolce vita in its most joyous, playful form. If you don’t believe me, just ask Anna Wintour, a personal friend of mine. I wish.
Italians have adopted a playful and unapologetically kitschy brand of sexy. Just google that Dolce & Gabbana dress with a provocative, cream-filled cannoli print splashed all over the fabric.
Present were also multiple manifestations of deck of cards -prints, evoking a daredevil sensuality that ups the ante in an unexpected manner. If you’re not smiling by now, perhaps the pea, carrot, or turnip prints will convince you that this time around, sexy has nothing to do with what one might be up to in the bedroom. Unless one is into phallic vegetables, that is. No judgement.
Another force coming into play: empowering women and the consequent feminist yet sexy undertones. And for the record, I do not think one cancels out the other. No one did this better than Prada, marching down a Victor/Victoria mix of masculine femininity: dresses over slacks, stark contrasts of pastel pinks with black and neon, sharp collars peeking under layered looks.
The Italian joy came into play with unexpected spider prints and embroidery at the Prada show. Comic book references, almost anime-style knee high socks. Somehow, this eclectic collection of aggressive silhouettes complented by the models’ boy cuts exuded a refreshingly bold variation of sexy. Unapologetic, feminist but not feminine. Prada is, again, eponymous with power.
Lastly, we cannot even hint at sexy without discussing Versace and its legion of original supermodels, clad as golden goddesses, closing the show.
The collection itself was a triumphant celebration of Gianni’s life work. It was an over the top, early nineties feast of Warholian prints, fullbody pantyhose, leather on leather on leather, and what I predict to become an instant It Girl hit: the graphic tees printed with the old (read: classic) Versace logo.
Versace embodied sensuality in a form that would have been deemed too much or even laughable just a few seasons ago. While there is no denying the ridiculousness of such abundance, Versace’s take on sexy was vintage enough to be applauded as genius.
So bring on the cruciferous prints, the menswear, the more is more attitude with a side of humor. I’m no meteorologist, but I predict that the next spring will be hot, hot, hot.
Words by Christine Göös
Photo credits: Andy Warhol, Grace Jones – Polaroid Series – , 1984