Is the return of the ultra-low waist a threat to the positive body?

Is the return of the ultra-low waist a threat to the positive body?

Influencer Leonnie Hanne in Miu Miu at Paris Fashion Week. (Paris, March 8, 2022.) Imaxtree

The reappearance of the emblematic silhouette of the 2000s, which bared the belly, destabilizes. Reminiscent of slimming injunctions for some, it is, for others, a perfect opportunity to reclaim a form of sensuality.

Barely installed, are the new “anti-standards” of beauty already threatened? This is the feeling that reigns on the Who What Wear fashion Instagram account with 3.8 million subscribers. Specifically, in the comments to the post showing actress Sydney Sweeney in a hipster miniskirt at the MTV Movie and TV Awards. “Expect to see the positive bodysuit collapse once the hipster fashion takes over”; “Back to Square: Encouraging Eating Disorders”; or “Please don’t let low waists come back into fashion. My body can not afford it “… Here are some of the messages that can be read under this post of June 6 where the actress appears with her belly in the air in a Miu Miu ensemble. According to these subscribers, all the benefits of the body acceptance movement are about to be wiped out by the return of this trend from the 2000s. So, is this anxiety justified?

Miniskirt, maxi phenomenon

Covered for years by high-waisted cuts, the belly is thus revealed in its entirety, on October 5, 2021. On this day, the last day of Paris Fashion Week, the Miu Miu house parades microskirt sets waist low top and cropped top with raw edge. The silhouette has an unprecedented impact. All-round recovery, in particular by Nicole Kidman in one of Vanity Fair, she reintroduced, overnight, this cut acclaimed by the pop stars of the beginning of the century. With the difference that, this time, contrasting body shapes (in gender, age and shape) take over. Paloma Elsesser, model with voluptuous shapes, notably sported the set on the cover of the magazine ID. Judged as an isolated case, the image is not enough to calm the spirits of these positive body defenders, who are gradually rising up against the silhouette through platforms and on social networks.

The 2000s and the diktat of thinness

The main charge of the low waist: being part of the continuity of an excluding system, a fashion “induced by thin people” according to Gianluca Russo, co-founder of Power of Plus, a community “open to all sizes , whose mission is to promote respect, love and style for all bodies,” interviewed by Yahoo. The outfit would therefore encourage ill-being. A point of view pointed out by Caroline Courbières, semiologist and professor at the University of Toulouse: “It is a drift, to reproach an object for the fact, by itself, of claiming something”. She continues: “It’s very contradictory, because the thought of body positive is based on the fact of being able to wear anything on any morphology”.

In the light of this movement, how is it that the low waist still tenses? Evoking the nostalgia of a watered-down era for some, the 2000s are, for others, synonymous with the diktat of thinness and therefore, of body shaming and suffering. However, the positive body has borne fruit, and, in part, shaped the vision of current fashion, which has become more democratic than hegemonic.

Do not close the field of possibilities

If fashion still produces standards, like the Kim Kardashian silhouette, the plurality of representations is such that the choice is now left free to the individual. “The A, H silhouettes… and the prohibitions that go with them are forgotten!”, comments Marie Dewet of the Maison Cléo brand, who invited models of all sizes to wear sexy pieces during her last parade. Among them, Alexia Cheula. For her, “the representation of this skirt is no different from the 2000s, because it is mainly thin figures who wear these low waists in the countryside, but society has moved faster than advertising”. Thus, she does not feel sidelined by the trend and wears these pieces with pleasure. Beyond the satisfaction of being fashionable, the question of what “fits” or “wrong” is very personal, recalls Caroline Courbières. “Everyone has their own personal perception: you can find the lean and youthful silhouette unattractive or just as well consider the low waist as more suited to the shapes because it tightens the stomach less.” So, wouldn’t the low-waisted skirt be given a second chance?

Make bodies exist

The ultra-low waist, like any sexy garment, may even prove necessary in this process of inclusivity. “A low waist, letting the belly appear will on the contrary ‘normalize’ this body which has not always been within the norms”, maintains the model Alexia Cheula. An analysis shared by Paloma Elsesser, who has also made it her mission to seize the Miu Miu microskirt, posing for stylist Carlos Nazario. The model explains on Instagram her goal of “creating images that people can relate to” by posing in this famous silhouette. Important work also for the designer of Maison Cléo who maintains that fashion is also a matter of examples to be given and habits to be adopted, whatever the complexes of each one. “It’s very good that objects that show the body a lot coexist with others that hide them, it’s a form of diversity,” adds semiologist Caroline Courbières.

sexy for all

During the Maison Cléo fashion show, the models with various morphologies espoused cult pieces from the 2000s, transparent dresses, pareos and waist chains, without trying to resemble the leading figures of those years: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and others. “Each one was very comfortable with her outfit, enthusiastic about the idea of ​​wearing sexy clothes in which we see few strong women”, defends the designer Marie Dewet who produces tailor-made pieces to respect the silhouettes as much as possible. A conception of sexy that excludes no one, also distilled by personalities like the designer Esther Manas who plays with cutouts, Rihanna and her pregnancy in majestythe model Ashley Graham who poses naked or the singer Yseult who wears the skin-tight jumpsuit in sight… The return of the low waist? Not even afraid !


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