What Professional Woman Wants to Wear Lingerie As Clothing?

Spring 2010 Dior.

The Wall Street Journal's Christian Binkley argues that the ubiquitous lingerie-inspired looks on the Paris runways this season are a somewhat desperate attempt at grabbing shoppers' attention. That's important in These Times. But she highlights a glaring problem with all the panty diaper shorts, super-short miniskirts, see-through clothes, and "pointy Mad Men bras":

These sorts of styles, shown by fashion houses including Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giambattista Valli, and Yves St. Laurent, garner attention. But they risk turning off many professional or mature women, who can only imagine how embarrassing it would be to wear such things.

Rihanna may not be embarrassed in the least to sit on a front row in a see-through dress, or walk around town in thigh-high boots and no pants, but she is a pop star. Though the runway collections were great for her kind this season, what is the sense in marketing clothes only people like her can get away with? Are not these professional or mature women the ones with the earning power?

But, with the exception of some designers, like Phoebe Philo, a majority of this industry might not be thinking about the professional woman. Reuters reports:

Shelly Musselman, co-proprietor of the Forty Five Ten boutique in Dallas, was not surprised by the seductive trend.

"Women want to look that way — and the husbands who pay for the clothes want them to look that way!" she told Reuters after the Alexander McQueen show.

Well, this may come as a shock to Shelly, but we certainly don't want to look like we walked out of the house having forgotten to put our clothes on. When we get dressed, we want to get dressed — with pants and shirts and all sorts of other opaque things — and not look as though we're heading to a secret after-hours side job. And we buy our own clothes.

Besides, isn't now a lousy time to market to husbands with supposedly deep pockets? Far more men than women are losing their jobs in this recession, anyway.

At Paris Shows, Designers Hope That Sexy Sells [WSJ]
Crisis lesson for Paris fashion: sex sells [Reuters]