Designers at the New York spring collections are showing visible panty lines. It's all part of fashion's backward movement of the moment. Last year it was thongs and G-strings, but having exposed supermodel backsides to the glare of paparazzi flash, the fashion-jaded are looking elsewhere for excitement.
It's to the '50s and your mother's underwear, when respectable girls had never even heard of bikinis and their bottoms were all covered up by drawers with cute lolly and spanky names.
That's the new contour, the new hot pants are rounded to cut in at the thigh. Kate Moss, the underwear poster child, wore them in satin at Marc Jacobs. At Miu Miu, red panties showed through everything.
Real-life opportunities for wearing these pants would seem to be limited. A woman could take the panties to the beach with a jacket as a modest suit or to the club for retro disco.
At Anne Klein, it was not your mother's work-wear or underwear, although designer Richard Tyler fell for the current obsession for engineered foundations by giving the Wonderbra a thanks in his program credits. Whether the successful working woman, who has been the traditional Anne Klein customer, is ready to use a bra for a push up the corporate ladder remains to be seen.
Let's hope designers have not abandoned the professional woman in favor of trophy wives. The reality is still obscured by sound system thump and runway sashay.
How else to reconcile Randy Kempers bra tops, short skirts and tight pants with the fact that he's one of Hillary Clinton's favorites? A white leather bra top would seem too hot for a muggy Potomac summer. So would skin-tight, knee-length satin skirts.
The longer hemlines, by the way, are being established in all the collections. For months now, Women's Wear Daily has been capitalizing and calling them "New Length" skirts.
By the end of this week they are sure to become familiar and lower case.