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Sheer Femininity, Just one Question Remains: How Much to Conceal or Reveal?

Several years ago, the arrival of the sheer trend forcefully raised questions about femininity, modesty, sexuality and shame: why are women expected to cover up, and should they be? Is the female body inherently sexual? Is the female body shameful? What is the connection between body, sexuality and femininity? Should a garment conceal or enhance? What does it mean to conceal or to reveal? 

While the more puritanically minded may have bristled, the translucent material and the questions it raises gave designers ample room to explore, build and destroy. Move forward a few years to the present, and we find that younger generations embrace and see the power in sheer femininity.

As women continue to embrace and define female empowerment, they aren’t looking to hide their feminine side or downplay it. Valentino and Dior continue to make sheer look beautiful, elegant and dramatic. Fendi gives the sheer factor a minimal chic. Rick Owens experiments with various structures of sheer to imagine a powered-up fashion of the future. Miu Miu, Acne Studios and Burberry give sheer a youthful, playful vibe. Loewe and Kenzo explore the possibility of creating dual silhouettes. Ellie Saab uses sheer to beautifully identify connections between femininity and the natural world, balancing the hidden and the revealed, the elegant and the chaotic.


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