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At Saint Laurent: Breasts, Breasts Everywhere


Style|Breasts, Breasts, Everywhere



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fashion review

Saint Laurent and Dior offered two different versions of women’s liberation. Neither was convincing.

A model in a sheer dark blue outfit walks a dark runway.
Saint Laurent, fall 2024Credit…Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Enough with the boobs.

That’s all I could think when yet another Saint Laurent model appeared wearing what was essentially a nylon stocking transformed into a dress. Or a pussy bow blouse. Or a pencil skirt. Or a ruched halter — whatever it was, it was skintight and see-through, often draped across the body and always revealing not just nipples galore, but below the waist, briefs cut to the hipbone like a 1980s aerobics leotard. Work it out, baby.

Of the 48 looks teetering out on needle-sharp stilettos in the Saint Laurent show, only 12 didn’t have breasts front and center (and of those 12, three were minidresses with their own built-in garter belts to attach to the stockings below). The pictures can’t even be shown in this family newspaper.

Forget about the practicality of making a pantyhose dress, or the question of who would want to wear it in the first place. At this stage in the 21st century that much transparency seems like the tritest form of misogynistic pretend-fashion provocation. One that is particularly misjudged given the current politics of women’s bodies. They are already being treated like objects, do we really need more objectification?

Maybe at one point, when Yves Saint Laurent was first pushing boundaries and making a sheer blouse back in 1966, so much visible skin was a shocking, subversive thing in public or on a fashion runway. Maybe in the beginning it was empowering: an escape from the prison of old mores and outdated gender rules.

Saint Laurent, fall 2024Credit…Alessandro Lucioni

Maybe Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director of Saint Laurent, was harking back to that period (the show space, two large round rooms, was hung with mint green velvet damask curtains, like the salons of the hôtel particulier on Avenue Marceau where Mr. Saint Laurent once held court, and the scent of Opium was piped into the air). Maybe he was, as the show notes suggested, poking fun at propriety. Maybe he was taking the recent trend toward naked dressing to its ultimate end. Maybe it was a subversive way to make everyone actually appreciate clothes. When a trouser suit finally appeared — there were two in the show, slouchy double-breasted numbers — or a giant marabou coat, it was such a relief, they looked fabulous.

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