Luxury labels are sending stuff down the Spring/Summer 2024 runways that actually resembles real clothing, the sorta stuff real people might actually wear in real life. You probably have some of these things in your wardrobe already: structured blazers, trim shirts, buttoned cardigans, trench coats.
But something’s amiss. Opaque tops are worn over bare chests, slit skirts are hemmed to mid-thigh, and sweaters are unbuttoned to the point where the ribcage meets the sternum.
Heck, the SS24 catwalks have beheld more bare sternums than a Bee Gees reunion.
It’s like business casual at an office that only employs hot people. Sensual office-wear that lanky waifs might wear for a night shift at the sex factory.
Now, these provocative office clothes aren’t omnipresent at every SS24 show but they’ve been a consistent throughline, an undercurrent pulsing through each offering.
Prada proffered see-through blouses and skirts; Ferragamo turned a tailored coat into a slinky, plunging one-piece; Bottega Veneta sent out demure staples undercut by seductive turns: a trench ‘n jeans borrowed from dad’s wardrobe upset by a greasy black leather tie, a daily-driver T-shirt worn with nothing but black cotton underwear.
Gucci’s new creative director, Sabato De Sarno, got real steamy by juxtaposing staples and salaciousness. One standout look layered a generous raincoat over a lacy slip, as if the model got out of bed, tossed something on to go get the paper, and then decided to head to work.
Similarly fresh-faced design director Simone Bellotti led Bally in a similar direction, though his play on contrasts was even more stark. One look would comprise a boxy shirt and layered skirt suitable for any office and, the next, a see-through sweater or form-fitting dress. Sober sweaters followed leather hot pants.
Leather, inherently sultry if not outright sexy, is a key fabric for the season, which is kind of insane because who else but the rich and/or famous can justify wearing leather mid-summer?
Still, Bottega Veneta used leather accents to great effect. Creative director Matthieu Blazy’s signature trompe l’oeil leather remains in play but the extra-visible leather is now really putting in work, undercutting otherwise temperate outfits with glistening zeal.
Shirts and slacks look so much slinkier when the latter is cut from shiny black calfhide, no?
If the office-turned-lascivious motif wasn’t clear enough, Bottega’s models clutched leather briefcases and newspapers like they were about to clock in (again, for that night shift at the sex factory, I presume).
MM6 Maison Margiela, the younger sub-label of the label that pioneered subversive staples, got into the action with the signature styling trick of SS24: big blazer worn over nothing.
This is a classic off-duty model trick but now it’s à la mode for all. Or, well, few.
Like, none of this represents how anyone actually dresses for work, unless you work at Berghain. But if runways reflected reality, they wouldn’t be very interesting at all.
Fashion is fantasy. Sometimes, as some fantasies do, things get a little saucy.