Was everyone fashion-weeking last week? (AKA getting blacked out on free cocktails next to a bored male model.) If not, then let Michel Ghanem count down the top 10 sexiest moments from #NYFW for you. Hottttt.
The Spring/Summer season is an ideal opportunity for designers to put their sexiest foot forward. Think about it: you’re coming out of winter hibernation, the weather finally allows you to show and view some skin, and you hopefully experience a sexual revival fit for the summer to come.
The concept of sexy differs from person to person. For Tom Ford and Carine Roitfeld in the early 2000s, it meant half-naked models groping each other in Gucci campaign ads. For others, it’s the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, a well-tailored gown, or not showing skin at all. This isn’t about what makes “sex sell,” but rather a feeling of empowerment that comes with owning an item of clothing that is made to accentuate your body, and hopefully your confidence and overall emotional well-being.
In an article I came across last year called “Girls, Power, and Style” by New York academic Emilie Zaslow, she credits girl power in the media for encouraging young women to identify with a sense of choice when it comes to their feminine identity. Within her framework, she says girl power should allow a woman a choice when it comes to being powerful, sweet, sporty, sexual for male pleasure, sexual for their own pleasure—or a mix of all of the above. I believe this is closely aligned with the prerogative to wear anything that leads to someone’s personal definition of girl power, or in this case, sexy.
NYFW’s leading designers showcased everything from 1960s sci-fi to Beth Ditto at their Spring/Summer 2016 season—as they always do. Among these collections, pieces stood out for their sex appeal, skin exposure, and textile use (only to name a few).
10. Oversized Blazers at DKNY
It wasn’t all that surprising to see menswear-inspired pieces throughout DKNY’s collection this season as Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne take over. Okay, admit it—there’s something oddly sexy about the concept of wearing your bae’s blazer. DKNY’s blazer is well proportioned, accentuating the model’s legs without having the piece swallow her up, and offers an interesting take on “menswear as womenswear.”
9. Low-hanging Jackets at Hood By Air
Hood By Air likes to tackle a plethora of inspirations in one collection. Deconstructionism, bondage, gender, and school uniforms all played their role this season. Their collections are often made to be fleshy and exuberant, and their brand has become an integral part of NYFW. A deconstructed jacket, hanging by straps is completely unlike any conventional way of dressing. A way of the future?
8. Leather at Cushnie et Ochs
Leather is typically absent from Spring/Summer runways—I mean, how many New Yorkers are wearing leather on the streets in the middle of the summer? But maybe, there’s something sexy we’re missing out on here. Leather and sweaty skin, anyone? Regardless, a leather leotard can make for an unexpected wardrobe choice.
7. Pin-Up Aesthetic at Jeremy Scott
She’s sci-fi, 1960s mod, with an 80s joie de vivre. The Jeremy Scott woman has never shied away from colour and has always taken inspiration from pop culture. The sexy pin-up aesthetic—although reminiscent of his Spring 2014 Moschino Barbie collection—was summery and exciting.
6. Silk Frocks at Calvin Klein
These deconstructed, flowing slip dresses felt oddly out of place at a Calvin Klein show, but decisively sexy. As Vogue Runway’s Nicole Phelps pointed out, these “skimpy” frocks Francisco Costa created are imagined for “the morning after a liaison,” when nothing is in order and disarray has been embraced.
5. #FreeTheNipple at Oscar de la Renta
Nipples? At Oscar de la Renta? Was there a wardrobe error, a sizing miscalculation? Backstage drama? I can hear conservative mothers across America gasping with shock. It was a peculiar way to open a new collection, but fell in with the season’s Ava Gardner-inspired aesthetic in a very sophisticated way.
4. Slits at Altuzarra
Okay, so I’m pretty sure I saw a flash of Fei Fei Sun’s underwear during Altuzarra’s livestream. Slits showed up elsewhere at fashion week, of course—Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, J. Mendel, Marc Jacobs—but none exposing the entirety of a leg with such subtle elegance. The slits were contrasted with unbuttoned blouses falling off the shoulder, daring hues of red and orange, and sheer, embroidered dresses.
3. Plunging Necklines at Prabal Gurung
Aya Jones wearing that glittering, ankle-length gold gown may have been my favourite fashion moment from the week. The collection was rooted in Napal inspirations, and many of the chiffon pieces were quite light —the plunging necklines were refreshing and glamorous highlights of the collection.
2. Lace at Givenchy
Givenchy’s New York showing this season fell on the 14th anniversary of 9/11, but the collection felt far removed from a remembrance. Rather, a reminder, to slow down in our daily routines, avoid taking life for granted, and buy something with lace ASAP. The collection, which was nearly completely lingerie-inspired, felt romantic, serene, and sensual—highlighted by the New York sunset.
1. Old Movie Star Glamour at Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs described his cast of models for his NYFW collection as “slightly worn stars.” They walked the theatre’s runway in their smudged makeup, greased and messy hair, with their necklines falling just short from a nip slip. The collection felt chaotic and sexy, as if the models had rushed in from partying the night before, exuding confidence and ready for their moment on the red carpet.
Michel Ghanem is a fashion-obsessed Canadian student and journalist. You can keep up with him on Tumblr here.