This just in: Joan of Arc fashion is sort of a thing now. Zendaya’s breastplate - courtesy of Tom Ford - signals a shift in red carpet style and 'dressing to protect'
“For me this evening, if we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights pretty soon, we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a piece of meat,” said Lady Gaga of her famous meat dress she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010.
Fast forward a decade and increasingly the red carpet has become a forum of political and social debate - from protest dressing to second-hand glamour. In the same vein, there’s a new suit of armour that’s been brought to our attention: the breastplate.
ICYMI: Euphoria actress Zendaya adorned Tom Ford’s backless “anatomical breastplate” (worth a cool £11,500, FYI), to the Critics’ Choice Awards (Gwyneth Paltrow and Zoe Kravitz also modelled the moulded metal top this year, which debuted at Ford’s spring / summer 2020 show).
While cynics may pass this look off as simply passing fad, it’s a radical move (or, as one Twitter user put it: “I mean, if this isn't a work of art, I don't know what is). Part Joan of Arc, part female superhero, this ‘boob armour’ is both a source of protection and celebratory of the female form.
Take, for instance, the gold-hued breastplate, girdle and skirt ensemble worn by Gal Gadot in the Wonder Woman film. Costume designer, Lindy Hemming, said she drew inspiration from periods pre-dating ancient Greece and "places where there had been societies run by women: queens and warriors.” Adding that “trying to tread a line where you didn't over-sexualise people, but you still were proud of their bodies and proud of how fit they were,” was of high importance. The breastplate also reminds us of Alexander McQueen’s heavy-duty cast corset, first spotted at his autumn/winter 1994 collection, ‘Banshee.’ Albeit, the 2020 iterations are a bit more, um, cyborg-y.
A (slightly) more casual approach? There’s a trend towards experimenting with corset-like tailoring and bustiers, on and off the red carpet. Cate Blanchett and Kerry Washington both wore harnesses to the Golden Globes last week. The HRH of punk, Vivienne Westwood, recently reissued her classic corsets (which she debuted in the late 1980s). And at JW Anderson’s SS20 show, crystal-encrusted bras, worn as outerwear, were the biggest talking points. Question is: Could you? Would you?
images courtesy of shutterstock