rom Christopher Kane to Tom Ford to Erdem, nipples were the leftfield trend of London fashion week. But there was more to the exposure than just grabbing headlines
From pasties at Tom Ford, to stripped bare and beautiful at Burberry, nipples were everywhere this fashion week and, perhaps most surprisingly, audiences seemed largely nonplussed.
Christopher Kane was perhaps the boldest with his boleros sans undergarments. And there was Anna Sui with her quintessential high chintz spliced by seriously sheer fabrics. Yet it was the every day casual feel of collections showcased by Burberry – and Meadham Kirchoff’s petulant young woman – that seemed most groundbreaking. Much less a statement than a wearable look, these campaigns – several sheer chiffon dresses from Burberry, deconstructed pieces that captured a nomadic, urban adolescence at Meadham – which seemed to suggest that day-to-day nipple freedom might just be a hair’s breadth away.
Kate Moss, of course, has been spearheading her own liberated nipple campaign since the mid-1990s, wearing countless sheer dresses to showcase her iconic pair. But whether this is a look accessible to the rest of us remains questionable.
After a slew of celebrities joined the Free the Nipple campaign on social media sites, the shock value of seeing a woman’s nipples – a word derived from the Germanic term meaning “beak”, “nose” or “face” – has begun to slowly diminish. Emphasis on “slowly”. We might be close to cracking the mysteries of the universe with the Hadron collider, but don’t think we’ve reached a point of full nipple emancipation just yet. When it comes to opening up the dialogue around those sinful protrusions, unfortunately it’s still a case of slowly does it.
While showcasing nipples in a public forum goes some way to breaking down the stigma surrounding exposed nipples, it remains largely hypothetical while the market for exposed nipples is saturated by perky 32Bs.
Still, it’s a start. But as is the case with many extreme trends, we’ll have to wait a while before this catwalk trend becomes high street reality.