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Turning underwear into outerwear

Florence Pugh letting it all hang out. Pierre Suu/GC Images/Getty

Nudity is no longer confined to “saunas, locker rooms or the garden”, says Jo Ellison in the FT. In 2023, “everyone is letting it all hang out”. I’ve just returned from a month at the various fashion weeks, getting an insight into the styles that will appear next spring. The most consistent trend I’ve noticed isn’t clothes, but rather the lack of them. As part of the ongoing “underwear as outerwear” trend, Gucci seemed to suggest “micro skirts and sparkly bras” could be a whole outfit. At Stella McCartney, the shorts were so short I “could have offered some of the models a full gynaecological report”.

And it’s not just bums. “There are bountiful boobs as well.” In Milan, I “lost track of the nipple count”; in New York, I had a meeting with a designer whose “unsheathed bosoms kept escaping her top”. She simply tucked them back in with “blithe nonchalance”. It’s a mysterious development. Watching dozens of half-naked young women walking the runway doesn’t exactly feel like a “feminist expression of emancipation”. But nor does it feel like a product of the male gaze when “some of the most naked collections were created by females”. Either way, it’s hard not to feel “buoyed by all these boobies”. The only tricky bit is going to be at the office, where nudity is “twisting HR departments into all sorts of amusing knots”. Just think of the “grey, male desk manager” trying to figure out an appropriate way to “tell his young intern to put her bits away”.