Fashion Statement or Lack Thereof?

In my travels around the Internet yesterday, I stumbled upon an interview from The Washington Post featuring world-famous designer Carolina Herrera. Amidst surveying Herrera’s own crisp, classic style and her modern yet timeless designs, The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan asked Herrera for her thoughts on the ‘nearly nude’ trend (think Beyoncé’s Met Gala dress) that has been popping up on red carpets this season.

And Herrera certainly made a statement with her response, saying “Some designers think ‘it’s so modern to be naked or almost naked. They think it’s going to attract younger people if they do those dresses. No!'” She went on to say that gowns like these are only trying to draw attention to the wearer, but she instead thinks that there should be “‘a little mystery'” in the way stars dress.

Her best point on the nearly-nude trend was yet to come. In speaking on the celebrities that wear these barely-there gowns, Herrera said, “‘They’re supposed to be fashion icons and they’re not wearing anything.'”

After reading her thoughts on this trend, I knew I was not alone in my distaste for these gowns! Showing a little skin is one thing, but bearing it all with the risk of a wardrobe malfunction at any second is completely different story. In my opinion, it can be just as sexy or appealing to wear something that only shows one of your favorite ‘assets’ and leaves the rest to onlookers’ imaginations, or as Herrera says, leaves “‘a little mystery.'” This was proven this past weekend when Jennifer Lopez, who tends to partake of the ‘barely there’ trend, wore a demure Valentino ballgown to the Tony Awards. She looked just as sexy as she always does, but she also looked sophisticated and elegant, and she managed to do so all while being completely covered!

What is beginning to happen as a result of the nearly-nude trend is that many teens are beginning to copy this trend in their prom gowns, which oftentimes goes against their high schools’ rules. It is really not appropriate for teenage girls to be copying this risqué trend at such a young age; girls should instead pick one element of the nearly-nude dresses that they like and find a way to incorporate that into their gown. For instance, if they like an illusion neckline, find something with an illusion neckline, but keep the rest of the dress free of cutouts, high slits and cleavage.

Although being covered seems to be ‘uncool’ lately in Hollywood, I agree with Carolina Herrera; how can these stars be “‘fashion icons'” when they barely wearing any material? Fashion is all about how material is cut, sewn and worn in a way that new and progressive – if we judge these barely-there gowns by this standard, then it is not fashion at all. It instead has become a competition of who can wear the least possible amount of material without having a wardrobe malfunction.

Giorgio Armani once said, “Elegance is not about being noticed, it’s about being remembered.” These barely-there dresses certainly get noticed and have their moment in the spotlight, but not because they are elegant. True fashion icons dress elegantly at all times and are remembered for an eternity.

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