Noughties “Sexy” Is Back, But Not As You Know It

Noughties “Sexy” Is Back, But Not As You Know It

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Noughties “Sexy” Is Back, But Not As You Know It
#Noughties #Sexy,


When Tom Ford was announced as the creative director of Gucci in 1994, the brand was on the brink of bankruptcy and stuck in a creative rut. In a matter of months, Ford managed to turn its fortunes around with an unapologetic, slashed-to-the-navel sensuality that went on to define a decade. “The Gucci woman – you know what she’s after,” the designer famously said with a glint in his eye.

As the Italian design house undergoes its latest transfer of power, the autumn/winter 2023 runways hurtled back to the Noughties with second-skin silhouettes and titillating cuts that hinted to the Fordian era. Prada and 16Arlington are urging us to forgo bras with tight-fitting mesh tops and bodysuits that leave little to the imagination, while over at Tove show-goers witnessed a roll call of highly covetable clingy dresses. Then, of course, there was Mr Ford himself, who dipped into his own archive this season with a daringly unbuttoned powder-blue silk shirt layered under a cobalt-hued velvet suit. It bore an uncanny resemblance to a look from his agenda-setting autumn/winter 1995 Gucci collection. A true full-circle fashion moment.

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So yes, this is a trend that may appear Noughties by design, however in spirit, it could not be further from the lads mag culture that pervaded the decade’s popular culture. This year’s spin on “sexy” dressing is all about a reclamation of female sensuality that was previously viewed through a male lens – be it Camille Charriere’s “naked” wedding dress, Florence Pugh’s #freethenipple red carpet gown, Rhianna’s roll-call of belly-bearing pregnancy looks or Tove’s Holly Wright and Camille Perry designing dresses that are simultaneously powerful, practical and alluring.

It’s also a conversation that is not without nuance – see Emily Ratajkowski’s reflections on patriarchy versus empowerment – and no single person can set the parameters of such a subjective issue. It’s a discussion that will inevitably look totally different in another 20 years. But, in the meantime, we can celebrate the full, fabulous and complicated spectrum of how people decide to express their sensuality, whether that’s an oversized shirt and baggy jeans or curve-clinging sheer gown. Sexiness may be in the eye of the beholder, but one thing’s for sure: this season we are certainly not short of inspiration.

Shop the edit

S/S 1997 Gucci By Tom Ford Sheer Black Viscose Pocket GG Clasp Top

S/S 1997 Gucci By Tom Ford Sheer Black Viscose Pocket GG Clasp Top

Entire Studios Asymmetrical Draped Maxi Skirt

Entire Studios Asymmetrical Draped Maxi Skirt

Manu Atelier Knee-High Leather Boots

Manu Atelier Knee-High Leather Boots

Mango Satin Finish Flowy Shirt

Mango Satin Finish Flowy Shirt

Mango Semi-Transparent Polka Dot Skirt

Mango Semi-Transparent Polka Dot Skirt

Raey V-Neck Responsible Merino-Wool Sweater

Raey V-Neck Responsible Merino-Wool Sweater

Miu Miu Brushed Leather Slingbacks With Buckles

Miu Miu Brushed Leather Slingbacks With Buckles

Mango Satin Camisole Dress

Mango Satin Camisole Dress

H&M Waisted Blazer

H&M Waisted Blazer

Bottega Veneta Cut-Out Jersey Maxi Dress

Bottega Veneta Cut-Out Jersey Maxi Dress

Cos Lace Trimmed Silk Cami Top

Cos Lace Trimmed Silk Cami Top

Arket Pointed Kitten-Heel Boots

Arket Pointed Kitten-Heel Boots

Karen Millen Leather Tailored Single Breasted Coat

Karen Millen Leather Tailored Single Breasted Coat

H&M Rib-Knit Dress

H&M Rib-Knit Dress


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Noughties “Sexy” Is Back, But Not As You Know It

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