No Sex Offers! Transparent Fashion
Transparent Clothes Are A Regular Thing In Our Wardrobes But How Transparency Becomes A Major Instrument Of Manifestation?
When Naomi Campbell unexpectedly appeared on the runway closing Valentino couture show in a sheer black gown with several layers bouffant ruffle skirt and utterly transparent voluminous sleeves top and demonstrated opened nipples, all the guested froze awestruck. Somewhere in the front row, Celine Dion wasn’t able to hold on and let a tear of a tender emotion to roll out of her eyes bursting in applause together with other guests when the first wave of astonishment finally came to an end and left a sheer delight to soar around. Twitter exploded from got cranky fans and fashion enthusiast sending praises to heaven, photos and video crawled away around Instagram like Yeezy sneakers in the day of official release, meanwhile Pierpaolo Piccioli enjoyed an overall attention to his brainchild provoked not by kilometre long lashes made out of feathers as a part of models’ makeup, but only by Black Panther who became a highlight of the show.
No one even paid attention to a naked breast with neat nipples of the iconic model of the ‘90s. However, what a society that is already blase by a cult of a naked body hasn’t seen there – nothing new.
Romantically girlish Christian Dior under the guidance of the first women at the head of the label creative department presented spring-summer collection inspired by the circus. Cream coloured midi-skirts with a 3D appliqué are combined with translucent blouses made out of an airy organza that have nothing under except flesh-coloured bralette; a lightweight puff sleeved sweater that seems to be woven out of a cobweb mesh, doesn’t hide an absence of lingerie beneath; a black tulle dress which is only nominally a dress, demonstrates model’s bare hands and skinny legs robed in black body with ultra-short shorts, meanwhile white transparent top with a frill collar is skilfully combined with a strict maxi-skirt.
Glorifying rock’n’roll sexuality a French Maison Balmain let model out in high-waisted underpants and transparent PVC raincoat studded with spikes, another model walks down the runway in an airy white organza trench during an autumn-winter presentation of an upcoming season. Instagram feed is dazzled by noir Prada beauty: a black embroiled mesh dress embellishes a classic white shirt, whereas Jacquemus collects likes over and over again, this time thanks to not his tiny it-bag which doesn’t fit even a tampon – perhaps, my conscience, but his flowing dresses of a weightless blue fabric with no lingerie underneath. Report goes, for this collection, Simon was inspired by Italian Riviera.
Modern fashion as the clearest language of visual communication with the outside world has no correct, exact definition. It’s so multifaceted that each of us treats it his own manner, unravels codes based on his own perception, interprets the way he wants to understand it. And that one who tries to solve cleverly veiled messages must understand that transparent clothes are not just a provocation, but an object hiding within many other, more complex interpretations. And if transparent dress for Prada is a part of a complex designer idea that turned into a principal element of stylistics, for Jacquemus it’s a method to expose a girl’s body fragility and Italian promenade romance – would you take a walk along the embankments of Portofino in stuffy jeans and white t-shirts? The tendency is one and only, but interpretations are diverse, and it’s time to recall a quote of famous Jack… Captain Jack Sparrow: «It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide.»
Us, ordinary mortals, already got used to exposing the most interesting parts of the body: modern celebrity sparkling brightly on the red carpets haven’t left anything mysterious about themselves. But it needs to be mentioned that denudation wasn’t always an instrument of provocation, it transmitted something more than barefaced sexuality. The very first transparent outfits appeared not even twenty, but two hundred years ago, when Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette, frankly ignored decencies and introduced dresses made out of delicate organza, having no fear to go public in attires resembling nightshirts. One century after Victorian England skilfully began to use lace within daily toilets of local fashionistas, but those days, of course, were too distant to «real» frankness. The beginning of the nineteenth century was marked as the first challenge to society by all women of that decade: a will to become bare wasn’t considered as an act of seduction, but a revolutionary mood whose symbols were heroes of antiquity. Even in the era of the sexual revolution of the ‘60s, transparent clothes turned into a kind of a riot for natural freedom, rather than an invitation to sex.
Back to the distant ‘70s when Jane Birkin came out in ultra-short jersey dress revealing all her inner secrets and black underpants under bright camera flashlights. Couple decades after the most popular supermodel of that modernity, Kate Moss, repeats accidental denudation: due to camera flashlights, the whole world evidenced what was – to be precise – what was not under a translucent combination of nineteen-year-old Moss having fun at the party in Hilton hotel in London. Then, the provocation appeared to be unplanned, but remained for a long-lasting memory archive photos will hover as significant symbols of the epoch when denudation little by little had become a method of non-verbal and much more arousing communication.
At the end of the ‘00s and at the beginning of the new decade, exposing naked parts of the body supposed to be not a provocation, but a way to draw attention. When the «golden age» of fashion blogging was only germinating, a major part of so-called influencers in attempts to repeat Chiara Ferragni’s success didn’t disdain to publish their looks in outspoken outfits, translucent shirts, weird trousers resembling «shorts-with-curtains». However, already then such kind of appearances weren’t a big deal and didn’t make others surprised, rather they were treated indifferently, while famous magazine The Cut with a slight hint of contempt accused bloggers of lack of imagination and applying «heavy artillery» of denudation when they already got nothing to surprise with.
Media and critics reaction of nowadays on another one blogger revelation in another one naked attire would be indifferent.
Today’s transparency has long become a homage to a past time when the naked body really had a hidden implication and could speak for itself. Most designers are inspired by moments of the past: a feminine style of the ‘90s, the audacity of the ‘70s, the romanticism of Victorian epoch, turning their collections, not into a manifest of revolutionary moods, but a pleasant adornment for your sacred body. By the way, body nowadays becomes a personal temple, and clothes which covers it designed not to hide, but helps to establish a healthy relationship with it and your self-perception.
Last year’s Chanel show exploded social media when models hit the runway in transparent PVC boots: it seems there is nothing special, but no one could expect such kind of audacity by a classic fashion brand, especially after Kanye West presented the same material shoes during his Yeezy collection show, and mass-market and niche labels. It looks curious, at some point beautiful, especially for Instagram feed which is craving for a pretty image, but absolutely impractical after several minutes of wearing: it’s hot in this shoes, while a condensate appearing on a transparent surface doesn’t seem aesthetically insta-pleasing that greatly loses its own charm.
Nevertheless, such phenomenon seemed to convey a special metaphor – all the inner processes of the fashion industry are obliged to become transparent as well as a culture of consumption that appeared to be too excessive. Recently, plastic clothes started taking an especial place on a shelf of mass trends. Designers demonstrate luxury PVC coats as the best cashmere and wool substitutes, jeans are replaced by plastic trousers, bags reveal their inside and cease to hide content, willingly showcasing expensive leather wallets, iPhone of the latest version and a pack of thin menthol cigarettes. And, it’s kind of a clear reflection of fashion-openness revealed, but only an ideal image of ecological and smart consumerism is damaged by expandability of a garment, its extreme impracticality and not the most practical material for an industry striving for consciousness.
Transparency turned into a scale of self-identification: the more you take pleasure in admiration of your own body, the more you want to show it to the world. Open dresses aren’t an available way to shock nowadays, but a part of the culture of narcissism. Brought to perfection body thanks to plastic surgeons interventions or exhausting workout at the gym and humble celery chewing, suddenly becomes an art-object, a piece of art which is a sin not to flaunt. But here is another underwater rock to consider: it all depends on personality and person’s interaction with his own conscience and self-esteem. Some girls of a fragile nymph constitution might hesitate to open up at least a little part of a neckline, while the brightest ambassadors and outcrop culture record holders, Kardashian-Jenner clan isn’t ashamed to make use of a whole potential of candid outfits, admiring their own irresistibility and making others do the same thing.
Transparent clothes aren’t just clothes but a woman’s sincere conversation with herself, her body and her self-perception as a personality. On the one hand, in this full of freedom and vastness of fantasy twenty-first century going out almost naked is just one more way of self-expression but a spoonful of tar in this honey sweetness adds a perpetually dissatisfied puritan society prying into and criticising anything that is beyond «right» and «normal». And then, a woman returns back to the beginning of the twentieth century when outspoken clothes are considered to be a riot and a way to win back what belongs to you.
In Russia, when a girl comes out in such kind of apparel, she catches all the puzzled, reproachful glances from women, and full of lust and hungry shine ones from men for which transparent clothes is nothing more than a call to action and a little hint that its owner wants to have sex. While in the West naked body parts may officially make a statement, a state of affairs in Russia is so bad that Russian people’s mind changing will take an infinitely long time, if won’t happen at all.
However, someday this country will meet transparency as a phenomenon quite trivial. The logic is almost the same as you’re at the nudist beach: at first, you’re a little bit shocked but a few moments later you gradually get used to it and doesn’t even notice that world around is utterly «naked».
But I better will be wearing a transparent blouse somewhere in Italy. There will understand.