For five years the H-spot has given designers, stylists and celebrities unrivalled pleasure, despite attempts from the navel, keyhole cut-outs and jockstraps to stage a trend takeover. The H stands for hips, exposed by side cut-outs in slinky dresses or low-slung jeans and skirts worn with body suits or dipping corset tops, providing a pelvic peek-a-boo.
Despite its advanced age, with square-toe sandals having come and gone since its arrival, the exposed hip continues rearing its bony edge on the runway, at Dion Lee and LaQuan Smith’s latest collections at New York Fashion Week and in Sir The Label’s new range. On the red carpet, Wet Leg offered a flash of flesh in Diesel on the Brit Awards red carpet, followed by Jodie Turner Smith in silver Zuhair Murad.
Hips don’t lie: Maximum exposure at Dion Lee’s autumn/winter 2023 collection at New York Fashion Week; Jodie Turner Smith in Zuhair Murad at the Brit awards; a dress from Sir The Label’s spring summer 2023 range.
Australian designer Nadia Bartel is capitalising on the trend’s staying power, with pieces from her Henne label designed to showcase an exposed belt line.
Bartel wore the ventilated silhouette to last week’s launch of the Melbourne Fashion Festival at Victoria’s Government House, with a corset-inspired jacket worn with a micro-mini, where oversized pockets draped beneath the hemline.
“Our customer loves this sexy and modern silhouette, with flashes of skin emphasising the natural curves of the body,” Bartel says. “Our pieces are designed to be worn for both leisure and activity. From the beach to an afternoon catch-up with friends. It is a simple and lightweight look, practical for hot climates like our Aussie summers.”
At beaches the trend is being given greater longevity with low shorts and tracksuit pants worn low with high-cut, one-piece swimsuits, further complicating tan lines.
Henne designer Nadia Bartel at the Melbourne Fashion Festival launch and her Henne one-piece.Credit:Getty, Supplied
Despite the style’s appearance on the runway and in campaigns on women with flat stomachs and skinny frames, Bartel says the cut-out is flattering on curvy women, having photographed plus-size models in Henne cut-outs swimsuits with tights for her campaigns.
“Our one-piece with its bold cut-outs was designed with a confident approach to form,” Bartel says. “The piece allows individuals to embrace and accentuate their curves.”
Model, body activist and designer Natalie Wakeling, applauds women with the confidence to carry off the latest cut-out trend but says that it is targeted at women who belong to the “so-called cool club of being thin.”
“I am all for women feeling confident enough to wear these styles but most women like me would not feel comfortable in them,” Wakeling says. “These styles are designed for young and thin bodies. If you have had a baby, or have some curves there’s a challenge. Even if you are confident you first have to find your size.”
“It’s catering to another level of prestige. This is for a certain woman with a certain amount of money who can go to the gym and eat organic food. You are not in that demographic if you’re the average woman who has a family and kids.”
Hope is at hand. Alongside Lee and Smith’s revealing runway shows, labels such as Khaite, Proenza Schouler and Tory Burch showed a covered-up approach borrowing from traditional tailoring. In tough economic times people prefer to pay for what they can see, not what they’re missing out on.
“Now we just have to wait two years for the trend to arrive in Australia,” Wakeling says.
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