strabismus and spring 2023 feels like a Y2K reboot filled with strappy dresses, lace detailing and mesh separates as far as the eye can see.
And the data would certainly confirm the sentiment of “lingerie and transparency on repeat” coined by Victoria Dartigues of La Samaritaine right after Paris Fashion Week.
According to fashion search engine Tagwalk, 59% of the 247 designers who presented shows during fashion month included lingerie and 77% included transparent eyes in their spring 2023 collection.
But seeing it all as only 90s nostalgia or a “turning point of the millennium” redux is an oversimplification, according to observers.
For Tiffany Hsu, Mytheresa’s vice president, women’s and children’s fashion buying, this new iteration is part of a global movement celebrating the female form.
“These are women who dress for themselves and celebrate their feminine power,” she noted, noting the popularity of styles designed to highlight the female form in a way that’s “very sensuous and sexy without be vulgar”.
Tasteful execution and a lack of sexual charge are key, agreed 2021 LVMH Prize winner Nensi Dojaka, who believes the spring The 2023 shows brought back an idea born in the 90s, where “there was a lot of transparency and somehow it was a lot more accepted.”
Showing the body “started more as a trend, has continued and becomes a statement of empowerment and making the female body ‘acceptable’, instead of being afraid [of seeing it] or sexualize it,” the London-based designer said.
After decades of feminist struggles and an increased focus on making public spaces safer for women, more revealing styles echoed the sentiment that “you have the right to be who you are and that doesn’t give others any rights.” on you”, confirmed Laurence Dekowski. , director of lingerie and children’s fashion at Bon Marché Rive Gauche.
According to her, this signals an empowered consumer, no longer bound by style prescriptions or notions of age, and taking these looks to the streets, stylish for the day, instead of limiting them to party wear. or evening.
It is also a new twist. Rather than coming solely from the designers and their runways, “the influence and agenda is driven by the streets rather than the other way around,” noted Dr. Carolyn Mair, behavioral psychologist, business consultant and author of “The Psychology of Fashion”.
“One way to look at it is that people have more confidence in their bodies,” she said, noting that once-narrow definitions of physical beauty have mostly been thrown out the window.
At a time when “everyone feels they can have a place at the fashion table,” saying “you can only wear lingerie if you’re ‘body beautiful’ isn’t going to cut it anymore,” Mair continued. .
“Pride is gradually becoming central to fashion. Pride in bodies, their differences and multiplicity,” acknowledged Parisian designer Alice Vaillant, whose two-year-old label Vaillant revolves around clingy sheer looks and lingerie details.
Nudity is an act of reappropriation, necessary to “reclaim our bodies against those who use them for their own interest”, she continued, especially from her “generation, which refuses to be pinned down”. [and] celebrates diversity and different femininities and masculinities.
This echoed the idea behind the 2014 exhibition “Exposed: A History of Lingerie” at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which recast underwear as shapers not only of the appearance of the female body, but also female behavior.
“The problem is not so much [showing] women’s bodies as [seeing] with the gaze of the dominant, the male gaze”, continues Vaillant, who considers that pride and self-confidence are a tool for emancipation but also a vector of change.
Seduction and sexuality aside, Mair reads bare styles as a phase of an individual’s style, with the cursor positioned by other cues such as how they present themselves, their general wardrobe or even cosmetics.
Take the younger generations for whom playing with fashion is about “verifying their identity, navigating who they are in the world they exist in,” she continued.
And this world is dark. Beyond the signifiers of individuality, these light looks carry “the gravity of our times,” noted fashion historian and Palais Galliera curator Alexandre Samson, whether it be geopolitical uncertainties, more two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, the rise of extreme ideologies and attacks on women’s reproductive rights.
He described a genealogy that encompassed the spring of 2023, the debut of Ester Manas, the earlier works of Atlein or Ottolinger, the seamless interactions seen in Casey Cadwallader’s Mugler and beyond Stella McCartney-era Chloé, Chantal Thomass in the 80s and the cutouts seen in Loris Azzaro’s work in the 70s and his dresses “made for sexual liberation”.
In her view, this aesthetic is “a mirror of the culture that ushered in the globalization of fashion,” viewed with cynical hindsight as future generations begin to digest this era more than two decades away.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, this proposition was starting to emerge,” he continued, echoing the data-driven view offered by Tagwalk, where the “transparent” tag emerges as a constant among the main tags used to describe the spring collections of leading brands since 2017, foreshadowing the return of underwear to outerwear.
As governments tighten controls, challenging norms through clothing can be a way to show agency and freedom of expression in a different way.
Faced with “regressive forces”, consumers and designers could respond with extravagance and lightness – of textiles and silhouettes – speculated Dekowski.
“When we were lacking in control, we try to take control when and where we can, and we can certainly do that with clothes – if we have the confidence to do so,” Mair said.