What’s Behind Fashion’s Rediscovery of the Bare Midriff?

IN EVERY ERA, a bombshell emerges. Marilyn Monroe helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. In the ’90s, Pamela Anderson became a symbol of the internet’s pornographic potential. And at the beginning of 2022, we got Julia Fox.

The “Uncut Gems” actress was catapulted from Lower East Side infamy onto the world stage after meeting Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, on New Year’s Eve in Miami. Although their romance lasted not much longer than a month, Fox used that time in the tabloids to cement her reputation as a downtown style icon, showing up with Ye to the Kenzo show in Paris during men’s fashion week, both in head-to-toe denim outfits — hers including a midriff-baring Schiaparelli jacket with trompe l’oeil conical breast details that recalled the famous Jean Paul Gaultier look worn by Madonna in 1990. Fox was also photographed in New York in black pants by the Los Angeles-based label Miaou, worn low enough on the hips to reveal the built-in thong. And in a picture taken by Juergen Teller for a cover of The Cut’s spring fashion issue, she posed supine on a mound of dirty gray snow in a patent leather crop top and coat by Alexander Wang, her arms outstretched as if to imply crucifixion. A pinup for these troubled times, indeed.

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