Breast in show: Nude look dominates Paris Fashion Week

Paris, France - The fashion trend for see-through clothes has dominated Paris Fashion Week which ends Tuesday, showing that demand for revealing outfits is still going strong despite practical and even legal challenges.

A model presents a creation by Saint Laurent for the Women Ready-to-wear Fall-Winter 2024/2025 collection as part of the Paris Fashion Week, in Paris on Wednesday.
A model presents a creation by Saint Laurent for the Women Ready-to-wear Fall-Winter 2024/2025 collection as part of the Paris Fashion Week, in Paris on Wednesday.  © JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

From pop star Dua Lipa's underwear-showing dress at the Barbie premiere to Rihanna in the front row in a netted babydoll dress, the nude look was omnipresent on red carpets last year.

Whether in tulle, organza, fishnet, or chiffon, there was no sign of the trend dying down on Paris catwalks, with everyone from Chloé and Courrèges to Givenchy and Weinsanto offering versions of the style.

Fashion data specialists TagWalk say the number of sheer outfits increased 40% across the 20 biggest brands between 2023 and 2024.

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None went as far as Saint Laurent, whose creative director Anthony Vaccarello made sheer the dominant theme of his latest autumn/winter collection last week.

It was impeccably timed to coincide with an exhibition entitled "Sheer: The Diaphanous Creations of Yves Saint Laurent" at his namesake museum in Paris, tracing it back to his first see-through look in 1966 and his emblematic transparent chiffon dress two years later.

Puritanical Americans were scandalized then, and they remain so today, albeit with a more socio-political rationale.

"Breasts, Breasts, Everywhere," wrote a shocked New York Times last week, bemoaning the fact that only 12 of the 48 looks at the Saint Laurent show could be published in "this family newspaper."

"At this stage in the 21st century, that much transparency seems like the tritest form of misogynistic pretend-fashion provocation," wrote its fashion correspondent Vanessa Friedman.

"[Women] are already being treated like objects, do we really need more objectification?"

Others see transparent fashion as an extension of the "body positive" movement, in which women can proudly flaunt their physiques.

Sheer fashion as a form of body positive freedom

Saint Laurent biographer Laurence Benaim dismissed criticisms of the iconic designer, saying he "elevated transparency into art."

"It was not a question of baring the body, but of suggesting its presence through a fabric as sensual as it was intangible."

"Transparency meant freedom," said Benaim.

The lewks at Paris Fashion Week are certainly differen than the trends we saw predicted for this fall at New York Fashion Week, but definitely takes chainmail mania one step further.

What do you think of the sheer trend?

Cover photo: JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

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