Browse all

Why fashion can't do without its sexy side

From porn chic to OnlyFans

Why fashion can't do without its sexy side From porn chic to OnlyFans

Notoriously emblazoned, predictable and tremendously overrated sex, however, has an appeal that is difficult to explain. A taboo that even fashion has repeatedly tried to remove from the runways, it is actually its lifeblood. Before porn chic and the Y2K revival, there were runways where the appeal of sex was literally a constant. Jean-Paul Gaultier brought it to the stage under a primarily homoerotic lens entrusted to the perfectly fitted stripes on the sculpted bodies of his hypersexualized sailors. Vivienne Westwood's SS94 show gave free rein to a Kate Moss shot in knit underwear and a Magnum ice cream. Not to mention that famous Gucci FW96 show, which established Tom Ford as the indisputable master of sexy. Vogue called it the equivalent of a one-night stand at Studio 54.

The rest was smeared on any editorial signed by the trio Carine Roitfeld, Tom Ford, and Mario Testino. Porn or erotic chic it may be, the point is simply one: the body and its sexual connotations were narrative fabric on the agenda. After their wave - of its social impact we are only now becoming deeply aware - the erotic, the nude and the sexy no longer registered the same media impact. As a counterbalance, in fact, acted the work of Alessandro Michele, who, although he opened a dialogue defecting from the genre, spread a narrative about the body that was certainly more intellectualized and sweetened. It was the lockdown, however, that brought the body with its endless sexual associations back to the center of the debate. A process that most likely started from the unpredictable corridors of a more or less consciously sexualized digital culture. If in 2020 fashion student Rob Tennent of Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand) had decided to present his collection on the dating app Grindr, in 2021 Rebecca Minkoff was the first designer to open her own profile on OnlyFans.

The same year that Kendall Jenner became the official face of the Jacquemus campaign suspended on a tightrope wearing a pair of stockings, pink mules, and a handbag of the same color. The same years when mules and isolation awakened dormant forms of desire that brought BDSM and fetish aesthetics back into the limelight. Vibe heralded by Moschino's FW19, latex jumpsuits, leather bodices, and masks began to crowd streets and feeds indiscriminately. And, if Julia Fox has become the champion of the dominatrix aesthetic made of skimpy denim, lots of leather and DIY make-up, the male world has also begun to consciously draw on styling shaped on a markedly sexualized imaginary. Imagery explored, for example, by French brand Ludovic de Saint Sernin, which has made luxury underwear the poster child for a second wave of porn chic. Or, even more blatantly, it is again the Miu Miu unifome that keeps the Zeitgeist hermetically sealed: where the crop uniform has taken on the contours of a collegiate dress with a rebellious attitude for women of all ages and body shapes - from Hailey Bieber to Paloma Elsesser via Nicole Kidman - it has become by counterpoint the pretext for a provocative and liberating sexiness for young boys with sculpted or lean physiques. Sex, the sexy, and the bodies have thus become entertainment in its purest state, even as self-determination and self-awareness sustain them. In the midst of all these sexually charged performances, the last word perhaps belongs to Demna's lucidity encapsulated in the corollary of the Balenciaga SS23 fashion show: money and sex never sleep.