Yesterday's MTV Awards dished up a red carpet moment that was like travelling back to time to 2004. Jodie Marsh was arriving at FHM's Top 100 Sexiest Women Awards, wearing precisely three belts that, strung together, made an outfit that was truly X-rated. Two were strategically criss-crossed over her chest, while the other, a marginally bigger style covered in studs, was fastened around her hips. Celebrity magazines, with a readership who relished the concept of the 'hot or not' list, immediately consigned this look to the rubbish heap of horrible fashion decisions, but in hindsight, maybe she was onto something?
Because this hell-for-leather approach to sexy dressing - that was championed by the likes of Pamela Anderson, and roundly lambasted - is, suddenly, being embraced by the very industry that scorned it. Pam & Tommy, an eight-part series about Anderson's relationship with Tommy Lee, is currently being filmed, with promo images featuring a blonde and corseted Lily James, while designers known for their sleight of hand when it comes to baring skin are being nominated for the LVMH Prize (Nensi Dojaka). Dua Lipa even wore suspenders to last week's BRITs.
But back to the MTV Awards, where Addison Rae, 20 year-old TikTok sensation, appeared on the red carpet wearing a look (by Christopher Esber) that had a remarkably similar vibe to Marsh's. Its centrepiece was an extremely brief strip of black fabric that stretched across her chest, although she toned it down considerably with an oversized blazer and an ankle-sweeping maxi skirt. Still, the overall effect very much landed feet-first in sexy land, albeit with a side-order of modesty to round off the whole look.
This, folks, is the new way to do sexy now that we're significantly further along in the '00s. Emily Ratajkowski and Zoë Kravitz have both worn very similar versions to after-party at the Oscars, the former in a white bandeau top and a white maxi skirt that showed off a toned foot of stomach, the latter in a gilded bra top with a satiny column skirt from Saint Laurent.
And why not? If there's any combo that captures the spirit of summer 2021, it's this one. Sexy is back with a bang – just ask this year's Oscars. And if you're still in any doubt, consider that one of this season's hottest items of clothing is the mini skirt.
After a year spent mostly in lockdown, it seems that fashion is well and truly bringing sexy back. Jodie Marsh must be pleased.