Why boobs are massive on the red carpet in 2015

The stars are flashing cleavage as if the 1970s never went away – what does this extreme trend mean for the rest of us?

Now that the red-carpet season is in full swing, have any trends emerged so far?

Imogen, by email

One word, Imogen: boobs. Boobs are massive this year on the red carpet. Think red carpet, think a giant pair of boobs so big they block out the sun.

Of course, I don’t mean the breasts themselves are physically large – heaven forfend a female celebrity should be larger than a B cup, as those things totally ruin your wardrobe and can make you look (shudder) fat. No, I mean breasts are the essential red carpet look this season. But it’s not enough just to have breasts, I’m afraid. Good heavens, no. You need to flash those puppies on the red carpet. Get ’em out for the lads, etc! But, you know, in a tasteful way.

The full 1970s cleavage is what I’m talking about here, with dresses and tops slashed down to a lady’s navel like bras were never invented. At the Golden Globes, Kate Hudson and Sienna Miller both wore dresses that appeared to be missing their entire front panel, while J-Lo – who pretty much anticipated this whole malarkey 15 years ago (now you feel old) when she wore a green bit of Versace patterned toilet paper to the Grammys that barely covered her modesty – wore a similar, “Why are you talking to my face? Don’t you see my boobs?” low-cut silver dress. At the Baftas on Sunday, the pretty-much-perfect Julianne Moore wore a red Tom Ford dress with a full front slash, the divine Anne Marie Duff wore a slightly odd Temperley dress that showed how Miss Havisham would have looked if she had gone for the full cleavage, while Reese Witherspoon gave the full cleavage in purple. Finally, at the Grammys, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj and (unsurprisingly) Kim Kardashian went what the Daily Mail dubbed “extreme cleavage”, which sounds like a meteorological disaster. If two’s a coincidence and three’s a trend, nine is full on Primark sale-level mania.

This is big news here, people. Breast-flashing has moved 180 degrees around the aforementioned body part – never mind showing your outer-side boob (ugh, so 2014), now anyone who’s anyone is showing their inner boob. This is a full-on breast-u-lar revolution we’re witnessing, and that is at least a million times more important than the French revolution and the American revolution combined. I mean, was a Kardashian involved in either of those? Point definitively proved, methinks.

But, as ever, this column always drills down deep into the real issues, so we have to ask ourselves, what does this extreme cleavage trend mean? Well, as is increasingly the way when it comes to celebrity fashion trends, it is a status thing. I don’t mean status as in, “I have boobs. Haha,” as half the human race has those, but rather, “I am able to flash pretty much my entire boobs and still look classy.”

As with sideboob, the main ingredient to the extreme cleavage is the lack of a bra. “I’m not wearing a bra!” the extreme cleavage crows. “And look! I’m still pert and perky and totally in control of the situation.” And to be fair, this is a pretty rare achievement. Most women, if they went out without a bra, especially on a bitter winter night, would feel like their back was breaking and would poke themselves in the eye. So, like I say, rare achievement. Not necessarily a boastworthy one, but something.

There is also a touch of power play going on here. Generally, the impact of a female celebrity’s outfit lies not so much in the outfit itself but in the celebrity. Julianne Moore, for example, can wear full cleavage and still look the epitome of modesty and dignity because she is Julianne Moore and that’s how she rolls. To sport a full cleavage and look classy, as opposed to looking like Elvira, is to say that as well as having total control over your breasts you also wield full control over your image. You can wear, or not wear, any damn thing you like and you’ll still look a total glamour queen. Kanye West thinks alike with this column on this particular issue. He often puts his wife into clothes with extreme cleavage (and that is how I imagine their household operates, with Kanye pretty much dressing Kim like a paper doll), which you might think would run counter to his obvious intention of jettisoning the previous Beverly Hills tackiness and giving her a more fashion-forward look. But Kanye knows there is currently nothing more fashion-forward than a lady showing her boobs and not looking overly sexualised. I’m not entirely sure Kim achieves that, to be honest, no matter how many ugly Givenchy tops her husband shoves her into – with her amazing body, that woman would look like a sex bomb in a duvet – but it’s sweet the way this modern-day Henry Higgins and Eliza Donothing keep trying.

So where does this leave the rest of us? Precisely nowhere. This, I’m happy to say, is one trend that no one will be urging on the general public, and that in itself is unique. There is some weird mentality now that we should all copy celebrities in all things, from their batcrazy diets to buying high-street knockoffs of their designer clothes. But no one – no one – is even going to try to persuade Joanna Public that going out in a dress that’s missing most of its front is an easy “day-to-night” option. This means we can all just sit back, enjoy the weird phenomenon of celebrity women boasting about their lack of lingerie and wait with bated breath to be told which part of the breast will be in vogue next. I’m crossing my fingers for the top half, slightly to the left. It’s my best side.

Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email ask.hadley@theguardian.com


Hadley Freeman

The GuardianTramp

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