I see London, I see France, next season's biggest trend is underpants

  • Brands in New York and London Fashion Weeks have been featuring underwear as outerwear.

  • Diet Prada called out the $5,600 Miu Miu sequin underwear for being impractical.

  • A fashion historian told Insider that underwear as outerwear is a centuries-old fashion phenomenon.

In an Instagram post made on Monday by Diet Prada, an account known for calling out fashion brands, it asked followers what they thought about the $5,600 Miu Miu sequin underwear intended to be worn as pants.

The pair is the same Emma Corrin wore to close the Miu Miu fall/winter 2023 fashion show in Paris back in March of 2023. At the time, the brand's founder, Miuccia Prada, told Vogue writer Anders Christian Madsen, "I love it! If I were younger, I would go out in panties."

One commenter on Diet Prada's post said, "They should come with some Canesten, brand partnership of the year?" — a joke in reference to a brand of vaginal cream to treat yeast infections. Another commented, "Fungus Girl Fall."


The distaste found in the comment section begs the question who are designers making these for, and why? Celebrities who experiment with fashion, like Emma Corrin or Julia Fox, are likely all for this trend but are normal people going to be wearing it?

Underpants as outerwear personally feels too far, but Summer Anne Lee, Adjunct Faculty at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Underpinnings Museum committee member, told Insider that this phenomenon has actually existed for centuries.

"European nobility and royalty like King Henry VIII would show off the high quality of their linen undergarments through a technique known as slashing-and-puffing, where the undergarment was pulled through decorative slashes in the outer garment," Lee said.

A full-Length portrait of King Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger.
A portrait of King Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger, featuring his exposed undergarments.VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images

Lee told Insider that just like the Miu Miu underwear, lingerie pieces during the Renaissance period were adorned with expensive embroidery and embellishments.

"The expensive and impractical materials of the embroidered silk and wool Miu Miu panties show its clear distinction that this is not a private undergarment — it is meant to be seen," Lee told Insider.

"It is still a bit of a shocking sight today, and there isn't much that people are still shocked by in 2023," she added.

Underwear on runways isn't exactly groundbreaking. Carrie Bradshaw famously became "fashion roadkill" while wearing bejeweled Dolce & Gabanna underwear on a "Sex and the City" episode back in 2001. But what makes 2023 different is the sheer amount of designers following the trend.

Across the luxury fashion landscape, brands are creating their own renditions of impractical underwear pieces. Miu Miu has a whole line of briefs — some embellished, some not — while Prada has a $2,400 bralette with similar embellishments. Then there's Dolce & Gabbana, which released a pair of nearly-$10,000 crystal-embellished "sports shorts."

It's not just the bigger brands. At his September Fashion Week show, New York-based designer Willy Chavarria went viral for his stained, tattered underwear. In an interview with Office Magazine, Chavarria said the underwear tells the story of where young people are today. "Showing ourselves in these old tattered underwear… that just makes us show our vulnerability, you know," he said.

A model at the Willy Chavarria show on September 13 in New York.
A model at the Willy Chavarria show on September 13 in New York.JP Yim/Getty Images

At London Fashion Week this year, designer Natasha Zinko, who is known for her outlandish designs, revealed a spring/summer 2024 collection that also featured underwear as a part of a camping theme.

A model at the Natasha Zinko show on September 15 in, London.
A model at the Natasha Zinko show on September 15 in, London.Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Zinko told Insider that now more than ever, underwear is being accepted as outerwear.

"The hip-hop movement back in the 1980s gave us the confidence to show our Calvin's. Marky Mark and Kate Moss told us it's cool in the 1990s,"  Zinko told Insider. "There will always be naysayers about something."

Read the original article on Insider