The Oscars Just Confirmed It: Sexy Is Officially Back On The Fashion Menu

After a year of tracksuits and leggings, perhaps this is just what we need.

andra day oscars gold dress

by Hannah Banks-Walker |

It's quite difficult to feel sexy in one's own home, on day 39847 of lockdown. No wonder, then, that there have been multiple reports of declining birth rates and a distinct lack of sexual activity in general. But to get us all back in the mood as lockdown has finally lifted and we're enjoying (slightly) more freedom, fashion is making sexy A Thing. Case in point? The Oscars red carpet, where cut-out details and daring hemlines were prevalent.

andra day gold vera wang dress oscars 2021
Andra Day

Andra Day was one of the celebrities leading the charge in a slinky, barely-there gold dress by Vera Wang. Wouri Vice, Day's stylist, told Vogue that Cher's infamous Bob Mackie look was one of the points of inspiration, describing the gold gown as 'jaw dropping'. 'There's cut-out, leg, peekaboos, it's a scandal,' he said. Day accessorised with a casual $2 million worth of Tiffany & Co jewels.

Day wasn't the only one paying homage to Cher's previous Oscar looks. Zendaya's yellow Valentino Haute Couture gown, with its midriff-baring cut-out detail and thigh-high slit, could have been a nod to another Bob Mackie creation, worn by Cher to 1973's Academy Awards. Having worked with Law Roach, her stylist, Zendaya had flowing hair and was dripping in six million dollar's worth of Bulgari jewels, perfectly encapsulating 2021's new take on sexy dressing.

zendaya yellow dress oscars 2021

Carey Mulligan, too, chose a Valentino Haute Couture creation which featured a crop top and a huge, sweeping skirt, both made of golden sequins. Vanessa Kirby's Gucci gown, meanwhile, played with proportion thanks to its plunging neckline and flash of midriff. In terms of daring necklines, everyone from Amanda Seyfried – in an incredible scarlet Armani gown – to Maria Bakalova in white Louis Vuitton to Halle Berry in Dolce & Gabbana opted for daringly low-cut dresses.

vanessa kirby gucci dress oscars 2021
Vanessa Kirby

Even those who weren't actually showing skin were still nodding to the trend. Viola Davis, for instance, wore an incredible white custom Alexander McQueen gown, with a beaded corset top that looked as if it were meticulously cut-out, showing the skin beneath. But Elizabeth Stewart, Davis' stylist, told Vogue that it was merely an illusion. 'The dress gives the illusion of showing skin through it, but it’s actually a corset dyed to match Viola’s skin tone. This was achieved by trying about 20 swatches, with the help of her make-up artist, Autumn Moultrie, who gave the atelier the base colours she uses on Viola.'

viola davis alexander mcqueen dress oscars 2021
Viola Davis

This red carpet reflects fashion's wider taste for clothes with distinct sex appeal this spring/summer. Bralettes are one of the season's biggest trends, seen at Dior, Etro, Boss, Alberta Ferretti, Givenchy, Isabel Marant and Marni, to name but a few. And perhaps even more alarming after a year of lockdowns is another of the key trends: midriff flossing, so-called due to criss-crossing cords or strips of fabric that wrap around the body. Everyone from Victoria Beckham to Jacquemus to Michael Kors championed it for spring/summer 2021.

Jacquemus spring/summer 2021
Jacquemus SS21

Lest you were in any doubt about fashion's new sex appeal, you need only consider the fact that the mini skirt is back – big time. Tiny, flippy skirts were seen at Versace and Isabel Marant, while celebrities including Rihanna and Hailey Bieber have been wearing super-short hemlines of late, too.

If you're not quite ready to relinquish your joggers, however, then Rihanna really is the woman to turn to for some inspiration. She recently showed us all that, out of lockdown, even tracksuit bottoms can ooze sex appeal.


SHOP: The Best Mini Skirts

Ganni, Tafetta Skirt, £225
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Arket, Denim Skirt, £55
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Zara, Shiny Buckled Mini Skirt, £29.99
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Rixo, Dogtooth Print Skirt, £185
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Mango, Pleat-Detail Check Skirt, £35.99
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Moncler, High-Rise Quilted Miniskirt, £465
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Ahluwalia, Twice As Nice Miniskirt, £290
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Sandro, Short Tweed Skirt, £219
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Whistles, Amy Patchwork Cord Skirt, WAS £79.20 NOW £59
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& Other Stories, Buttoned Wrap Mini Skirt, £75
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Maje, Diamond Pattern Rhinestone Knit Skirt, £199
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Su00e9zane, Jelena Skirt, £100
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J.Crew, Ruffle-Hem Sequin Skirt, £188
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Chopova Lowena, Split Argyle-Print Jersey Mini Skirt, £770
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Weekday, Issa Knit Jacquard Skirt, £30
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Uniqlo, Women Pleated Mini Skirt, £24.90
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