How the cut-out got its cool back

Amy de Klerk
Photo credit: Imaxtree

From Harper's BAZAAR

If the idea of cut-out fashion conjures up images of cheap and revealing bodycon dresses worn by teenagers and reality stars, you are not alone. Over the past few years, as fashion’s love of the cut-out trickled down to the high street, the trend slowly lost its cool, but high-end designers are now bringing it back in a big way.

On the spring/summer 2020 catwalks this past September, a number of major designers backed the cut-out comeback, mostly for eveningwear, but there was also a dabble in making it work for the office. Meanwhile, the autumn/winter 2020 London and New York shows have seen the cut-out emerge as one of the most obvious trends for next season, seen on everything from slinky dresses to chunky knits.

How exactly has this flesh-flashing feature become chic again? Well, the answer is in the way designers have pulled it back.

On the SS20 Versace catwalk, Gigi Hadid made an entrance in a black dress that draped across her body, revealing just the top of her abs through a slit in the material, which was pulled together with a trademark Versace gold clasp. At Saint Laurent, Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen too, black eveningwear got the cut-out treatment in the form of slits, gaps and unexpected necklines.

Photo credit: Victor VIRGILE - Getty Images
Photo credit: Imaxtree
Photo credit: Imaxtree

Emilia Wickstead and Victoria Beckham had a different approach to the cut-out, making it work just as elegantly, but in an even more subtle way (one that could definitely be considered for the office). JW Anderson and Halpern, meanwhile, let the cut-out be a contrast point to oversized texture.

Photo credit: Imaxtree
Photo credit: Imaxtree

For autumn/winter 2020, the trend has been even more prominent (and we’re only two cities in).

We saw the cut-out done in a super refined way at Brandon Maxwell, Awake Mode and John Rogers – think millimetre-sized slits. At Christopher Kane and Monse, it worked for knitwear, was juxtaposed with oversized fits at Khaite (and again at Christopher Kane), while Rejina Pyo and Burberry embraced the cold shoulder.

Photo credit: Imaxtree
Photo credit: Imaxtree
Photo credit: Imaxtree
Photo credit: Imaxtree

Emilia Wickstead and 16Arlington probably flashed the most flesh, but teamed these cut-outs with ladylike materials including lace and brocade, ensuring they didn’t look the least bit tacky.

Photo credit: Imaxtree

If these past two seasons are anything to go by, fashion’s latest love affair with the cut-out looks set to rule for a while. Dare to give it a go? We suggest remembering the less-is-more rule – that tiny slither of skin can make far more of an impact than you might think.

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