The Corset Is Back—Can You Handle It?

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, women regularly warped their bodies into organ-mashing S-shapes reinforced by corsets in order to create man-made curves to please, well, men. Aside from jutting hips and minuscule waists, that pursuit of altering one’s body shape into something deemed acceptable was hidden under layers of (typically similarly restrictive) clothing. Fast-forward to 2017: The corset is trending once again,
but this time, it’s out in the open. Could it be the Kim Kardashian West effect? The famously curvy social media superstar is as open about her “waist trainers” (essentially a “training corset”) as she is about her use of trompe l’oeil makeup contouring, or her wigs. So then it seemed only natural that her friend, designer Olivier Rousteing, used her figure as his inspiration for Balmain Fall 2017, filling the runway with rail-thin models in dresses that gave them the corset’s exaggerated busts and hips. That same season even Miuccia Prada, an icon of feminist fashion sensibility, featured the waist-highlighting piece in her collection, throwing the corset on top of everything from bulky jackets to hefty, metallic embellished dresses.

Still, the 2017 take on the corset is far from the brutal, rib-crunching underpinnings of yesteryear, which required a firm hand and something to brace yourself with, à la Scarlett O’Hara. Today’s corset is mostly ornamental (often coming with a zipper, rather than laces), transforming the body-shaming accessory of the past into an in-your- face symbol of femininity worn by the likes of Rihanna, who sported a lavender corset over a boyish Chanel shirtdress; Gigi Hadid, who has worn the style as a top, out on the town; and of course, Kardashian West, who threw on—what else?—a bold Givenchy and Balmain look.
Très chic and sheer, too! Bella Hadid dared to bare her nipples in a see-through corset dress for the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 Bal Masque for Paris Men’s Fashion Week on Monday, January 23.

PHOTOS: Bella Hadid’s Hottest Bikini Instagram PicturesThe Dior Makeup brand ambassador, 20, stunned in a delicate pale blue dress with a
structured bodice, a full, floaty skirt and all-over crystals. She went without a bra up top and layered a pair of briefs printed with J’Adore Dior on the waistband. The model teamed her number with fashion’s favorite accessory: a choker. Hers was studded with sparkling diamonds to match her dress. To complete her head-turning ensemble, the Chrome Hearts designer assembled her long brunette hair into a sleek ponytail and chose a light pink lip.

Hadid, who partied with Kendall Jenner, Eva Herzigova, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg at the luxe event, also showed off her look in a selfie video on Snapchat beforehand. She posed and pouted to “PRBLMS” by 6LACK, mouthing along to the lyrics.

We decide that in order to make it work in my wardrobe, I need to wear it in a more tomboyish manner, befitting my own style. I put a striped men’s button-down over the slip dress, slouched similarly to the parkas and bombers at Balenciaga’s Fall 2016 show, slipping the corset over to belt it. And here it is, that “feel good” effect that Choi mentioned: I stand up a little straighter, I feel my chest pushed forward, as if I’m wearing a power suit—but without the bulk of shoulder pads. As it turns out, wearing the corset is not just a total cinch—it can tie your whole look together.
It’s been a busy week for the younger sister of Gigi Hadid so far. She also walked in shows for Christian Dior, Givenchy and Chanel. And on January 22, she puckered up for a steamy photo op with Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci and Jenner: “HOT SANDWICH,” he captioned the Instagram.

Thankfully, the beauty appears to be unbothered by stateside drama. Her ex The Weeknd was spotted kissing Selena Gomez earlier this month, and sources tell Us that Hadid wasn’t pleased. ”Bella has reached out to Abel a few times and told him Selena is using him,” a Hadid pal told Us Weekly. “He thinks she’s just jealous and isn’t listening to her.”

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