8 WAYS TO DO BODYCON 2.0

8 WAYS TO DO BODYCON 2.0

A fashion editor’s guide to the most flattering styles of the season
A fashion editor’s guide to the most flattering styles of the season.

Words: Thea Bichard

A perfect sartorial storm has been brewing. Parties are back, summer is almost here, and designers have been looking back to the skimpy days of the Noughties (we’ve all seen the frenzy that that Miu Miu set sparked). I’m talking cutouts, close-fitting fabrics and straps aplenty; they started showing up on last year’s catwalks and dominated SS22. Read on for eight ways to embrace the latest evolution of bodycon – from size-inclusive styles to sheer delights.

1. RETURN TO THE BOD-ICONS

1. RETURN TO THE BOD-ICONS

I couldn’t dive into this season’s bodycon dresses without paying my respects to the original bodycon era: the Noughties. Back then, Hervé Léger’s bandage dresses and Victoria Beckham’s debut collection of 10 perfectly fitted pencil dresses quite literally shaped women’s style. Over a decade later, the look is more minimalist but no less impactful. Right on cue, Beckham’s new VB Body label launches with fitted, monochrome midi dresses (along with crop tops and bodysuits) that need little more than low-key gold jewellery and strappy sandals. By the way, you can shop the collection at a pop-up on 3 at Selfridges London.

2. PICK A

PARTY PIECE 

2. PICK A

PARTY PIECE 

In the post-lockdown era, hemlines are high and fabrics are fitted – perfect for parties in other words. For night-out inspiration, I’m looking to the wave of young designers encouraging us to embrace our bodies; from Supriya Lele’s bright chiffon and cutouts to Nensi Dojaka, who draws on her background in lingerie design. “I’ve always paid extra attention to the female body,” Nensi told me last year, “I love to work around the body, not on top of the body.” That care creates sinuous dresses with straps you can adjust in the same way you would a bra, so they fit perfectly. For these styles, less is less – keep hems short and keep the cutouts coming.

3. EMBRACE THE ‘BODY’ IN BODYCON

3. EMBRACE THE ‘BODY’ IN BODYCON

The phrase ‘naked dress’ made a comeback last summer, touting the return of sheer, skin-baring fabrics. Greek designer Dimitra Petsa has captured half of Instagram’s attention with her label Di Petsa, which celebrates female sexuality and women’s bodies via ingenious wet-look dresses, skirts and tops – the likes of Lizzo and Bella Hadid are fans. Conjured with clingy fabrics, these pieces have the air of a goddess post-dip in the Aegean. For something more daring still, Jean Paul Gaultier and lauded stylist Lotta Volkova have very literally interpreted ‘naked dress’ with their trompe l’oeil prints. I guarantee double-takes.

4. MAKE AN EASY

GETAWAY  

4. MAKE AN EASY

GETAWAY  

Summer breaks and properly hot days feel within touching distance, so now’s the time to start investing in cutouts, straps and drawstrings – Christopher Esber dresses feel breezy but still finessed enough to wear to dinner en terrasse. For similarly sunny vibes, look to Zimmermann’s airy linen dresses and Cult Gaia’s combination of cutouts and breezy cotton knits – both are perfect for packing in your suitcase or whipping out once heatwaves hit.

5. GO ALL DAY

5. GO ALL DAY

Back in the day, bodycon revolved around getting dressed up for nights out. This time round, there’s a host of casual styles borrowing the same breezy cutouts, form-fitting fabrics and minimalist straps remixed for summery day dresses. Top of my list are Ganni’s casual, colourful and size-inclusive dresses, which work well with trainers or mules. Alongside them, Jonathan Simkhai’s knitted and tailored midis have forced my hand into using a cliché: ‘desk to dinner’. Sorry, and you’re welcome.

6. GET DRESSED UP

6. GET DRESSED UP

Bodycon is perfect for occasions when you’d really like to push the envelope, wardrobe-wise. Backing up my theory, Pieter Mulier’s debut for Alaïa has blessed us with form-fitting dresses that technically cover you from turtleneck to toe but play with perception via sheer mesh and well-placed panelling. Look to Mônot for cutaways that play on the timeless trope of hourglass proportions. And, if you fancy dipping into bodycon for one night only, head to Selfridges Rental for strappy styles by Self-Portrait and San Sloane.

7. TEST OUT STRING THEORY

7. TEST OUT STRING THEORY

Having encountered first-hand the confusing cat’s cradle of cutouts and straps, I’ve found that there’s fun to be had if you see these pieces as an opportunity to experiment with the fit and styling of your looks. Tie Ottolinger’s tops, trousers and skirts every which way and layer Rui’s bodysuits and tights to play with the levels of sheer – bodycon isn’t just for dresses this time round.

8. ENJOY MORE STYLING ADVICE

8. ENJOY MORE STYLING ADVICE

For those of you who are torn on whether you’re cut out for cutouts or would be better suited to strappy styles, book a session with a Selfridges styling expert in store, who can find you the perfect piece for a specific occasion or help you hone your looks for the season ahead. Keep an eye out on our Instagram @theofficialselfridges, where one of our personal shoppers from Selfridges London has curated their top bodycon picks, and head to the link below to book an appointment at one of our stores.

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