If fashion were a living sentient being it might be bored right now. It might say to itself, “I’ve done it all and feel as if there’s nothing left to do.” That is, until Marc Jacobs decided it was about time that underwear was worn outside of clothing. No more hiding that beautiful bra or those panties or that garter, the world needs to see what you have and so the pied piper of fashion began the trend (for this season at least) and many others followed. Many noted the absurdity of the Marc Jacobs Spring collection. A reviewer said something to the effect that the emperor, read Jacobs, had no clothes and his panties were showing both figuratively and somewhat literally.
Fast forward a couple of months and the verdict is almost close to being unanimous, showing a bra strap or two is the must do thing for the season. Not only is Marc Jacobs saying it, so it Nina Ricci and Christian Dior. The negligees are out getting sunlight and it’s a-ok. The truth is though that while Jacobs, Dior, Ricci and others pursued it aggressively with their Spring collections, retailers and imitators at large are going to do what they do and tone it down somewhat. The influence is their though and the anticipation to see what one has underneath will become less of an issue because underneath may not exist after this mini-revolution.
The winners stand to be lingerie designers like Agent Provocateur, Aubade, and Coco de Mer. Their high end offerings mean that the $150 bra will be shown to the public if only as a strap. The other winners are the designers of course, material cost for bras and panties are much less than creating a complete ensemble. The bigger picture of course is the type of look that will be seen in fashion forward cities. Thoughts of women parading around in nothing but their skivvies are sure to give conservatives a reason to complain, but the complaints will be without merit. The over exaggeration of almost nude women walking the streets is a fallacy. The lingerie looks are sure to be complementary to any ensemble. So a blouson may subtly hide a bra strap, while giving a glimpse only in the slightest of terms.
To be sure, the trend of wearing underwear on the outside partially or in total is not a new thing. Madonna did it in the 80s, the flapper girls did it in the 20s and as not-so-long-ago as in 2005, Prada as well as Comme Des Garcons and even Betsy Johnson had mild forays into this territory. So this is quasi revolution is long in coming. Will it help the self esteem of the woman wearing it? Maybe/Maybe not. But the reports of the end of society as we know it due to this trend may be a little on the premature side.