Sexy Lingerie Makes Post-Pandemic Comeback

Models present lingerie creations during a fashion show as part of the International lingerie fair, in Paris, on June 18, 2022. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)




Sexy women’s underwear didn’t fare too well during the jogging-bottoms-and-pyjamas phase of the pandemic, but from the red carpet to lingerie shows, ultra-sultry intimate apparel is making a comeback — and is now much more visible.

Rihanna helped set the mood with her radical approach to pregnancy fashion — sporting a transparent babydoll dress over a black thong at the Dior show in Paris this winter.

Or there was Megan Fox’s all-but-invisible Mugler dress over a white thong at last year’s MTV Awards.

Having your undies on display has been tried by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and even fictional fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw on “And Just Like That…”

“It’s a trend that we see a lot in pop culture. Rihanna, Cardi B, Kim Kardashian — they’ve seized on these styles in a very extroverted way and with a real feminist dimension,” Renaud Cambuzat, creative director for Chantelle, told AFP.

Lingerie brand Chantelle was previously associated with comfort above all, but it has joined the trend, launching a new Chantelle X line that prioritises sexiness.

That was the dominant vibe across this year’s International Salon of Lingerie in Paris which concluded on Monday — where many were embracing the new appetite for thongs and transparent designs.

Experts say there has been a shift, however, and that this trend emphasises women wearing lingerie for themselves rather than trying to impress others.

“We are witnessing the return of the scruffy sexuality of the 2000s — styles that refer to the archetype of the objectified woman, but which no longer have the same meaning,” said Benjamin Simmenauer, philosopher and professor at the French Institute of Fashion.

“It is no longer a question of being ordered to seduce, but of a feminist reappropriation of sexualised clothing,” he added.


A person looks at lingerie creations during the International lingerie fair, in Paris, on June 18, 2022. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)


– Re-investing in sexy –
The return of sexy lingerie marks a course correction after several years of change in the lingerie business, Chantelle’s Cambuzat said.

“Four or five years ago, we were in #MeToo, and there was a desire to move towards something seen as more respectful,” said Cambuzat.

“The #MeToo fight is not completely won but the field has opened up. There are women and brands that have found legitimate ways to reinvest in ultra-sexy styles.”

The change is evident in the way the big brands have embraced greater diversity in their models and advertising.


Models present lingerie creations during a fashion show, as part of the International lingerie fair, in Paris, on June 18, 2022. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)


Victoria’s Secret — which was seen as symbolising a narrow beauty ideal in the past —  has abandoned its slogan “The Perfect Body” and its army of “Angels” in favour of more full-figured models and strong personalities such as footballer Megan Rapinoe.

“We must not confuse #MeToo and puritanism. A woman can also wish to seduce out of her own conviction,” added Samar Vignals, of French lingerie brand Aubade, which has asserted the need for “more audacity” in the post-pandemic moment.

The company, previously known for its monochrome close-ups on bums and breasts, is now running ads that show faces, sometimes staring straight into the lens.

Aline Tran, founder of the erotic lingerie boutique Les Rituelles, said there needs to be less anxiety around seduction, and it should instead be seen as something empowering.


A model presents lingerie creations during a fashion show, as part of the International lingerie fair in Paris, on June 18, 2022. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)


“We talk a lot more about acceptance of our bodies,” she told AFP. “Seduction is a great feminist asset. It allows us to regain control over our body and by extension over our mind.”

Post-Pandemic Experimentation At Paris Fashion Week

Models present creations by Chanel as part of Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on October 5, 2021. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)


Paris Fashion Week wraps up Tuesday after nine days of innovative experiments that showed how the industry is embracing technology and new approaches for a post-pandemic future.

While many fashion houses stuck to online presentations, the biggest names such as Dior, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney — even Yves Saint Laurent, which had been first to quit live shows when the pandemic hit — got back to the catwalk.

But new twists often reflected the lessons learned during lockdowns and increasing environmental concerns.


What Is Real?

Among the most inventive runway shows in years came from Balenciaga, who fooled their own guests into becoming part of the spectacle.

Arriving via a red carpet, they were unaware that the official models were walking among them until a big screen relayed their entrance and highlighted which outfits were part of the show.


Models present creations by Etam during the Etam Live Show 2021 as part of the Paris Fashion Week at the Garnier Opera in Paris, on October 4, 2021. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)


The line between guest and model disappeared as it emerged that some of the celebrities had been on secret modelling duty, including racing driver Lewis Hamilton and actress Isabelle Huppert.

The New York Times called it a “knife-sharp belly laugh of an experiment on… our digital lives, where posing has become the norm (and) voyeurism is a constant.”


Immersive Shows

One advantage of pandemic-era online presentations is that they have given viewers time to really appreciate the clothes.

Dior embraced that idea, using an elaborate gameshow-style rotating stage which allowed the models and their outfits to be seen from multiple angles.

Christian Louboutin, creator of the famous red-soled pumps, offered a fully immersive experience, plunging the audience into digital landscapes before presenting the shoes on podiums, jazzed up with digital effects, while dancers put them through their paces.



Young French star Marine Serre, who has put on spectacular shows in the past, opted to stick with an online presentation this time.

But she also screened the film for several hundred guests at a special evening in Paris “to give it some warmth and appreciation,” she said.


A model presents a creation by Chanel as part of Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on October 5, 2021. (Photo by Lucas BARIOULET / AFP)


The clothes were on display to see and touch, while Serre herself was on hand to discuss directly with guests.

British veteran Paul Smith also took an intimate approach, inviting guests to his headquarters.

He offered commentary on each outfit, saying: “I think the way we’ve done it today is correct for the house. It’s nice to have a one-to-one.”


Ethical Concerns

Though the fashion industry is often accused of empty posturing on the environment, some designers insist they are determined to really make a difference.

Stella McCartney displayed the first-ever bag made from “Mylo” mushroom leather.

It was part of a collection that went heavy on natural vibes, with even the music being inspired by fungi.

Gabriella Hearst also highlighted her green credentials, saying 58 percent of her designs for Chloe were from low-impact materials.

And Dutch label Botter used recovered plastic waste from the sea for its aquatic-inspired collection.


IMF Warns Of ‘Diverging Recoveries’ Post-Pandemic

In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP


The IMF on Thursday warned of “diverging recoveries” among global economies as they struggle with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, even as vaccines are approved.

“We are seeing overall improvement in the global economy, but with many countries and people, too many, still left behind,” the Washington-based crisis lender’s spokesman Gerry Rice said.

“We have described it in the past as diverging recoveries and countries being at very different levels, and I think we’re still seeing that broad picture.”

The International Monetary Fund will on April 6 release new growth forecasts for the global economy, after in January predicting it would see a strong rebound of 5.5 percent this year after contracting 3.5 percent in 2020 as Covid-19 sealed borders and disrupted businesses.

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However the lender warned the outlook is beset by “extraordinary uncertainty,” and said the global economy was set to lose $22 trillion from 2020 to 2025 due to the pandemic.

The fund this month said the $1.9 trillion relief measure US President Joe Biden signed will boost growth both in the world’s largest economy and internationally, and expand US GDP by five to six percent over three years.

It will also increase demand, helping other countries sell more products to US consumers.

Biden is expected to unveil a measure to improve US infrastructure that could cost as much as $3 trillion but potentially also increase the country’s high debt and deficit levels.

Rice declined to comment on the proposal.