Perhaps we should blame this one on Sisqo. Both Versace and Cesare Paciotti are suddenly pushing the retro-tawdry look, complete with G-strings and garter belts, both of which make unflattering appearances in these companies' new ad campaigns. Also making appearances are bouffant-crested women (think '50s) post-coitally splayed across beds, naked but for strappy underwear, which make nifty frames for their airbrushed buttocks. It's a dash of "Belle de Jour," a splash of Heidi Fleiss. I can't help asking: What if they got hit by a bus?
... Speaking of unflattering poses, Heather Graham's froglike contortions on the front of the February Talk gave us pause. The only point of the cover, after all, seems to be to give us a sneak peek at her underpants. Coming after Al Gore's vice presidential bulge on the cover of Rolling Stone, and appearing simultaneously with Brad Pitt's crotch on the cover of the February Details -- not to mention the coincidence with the sudden G-string craze -- we have to conclude: The genitals, barely covered though not yet bare, are the new erogenous zone!
... Last season, Prada brought us freezing chic: advertisements full of placid models walking unconcernedly through snowstorms in gauzy, sleeveless dresses. Now it seems Ms. Miucci is more interested in the sex appeal of heat prostration. In the new spring ads, Prada sends models in pastel button-down shirts, circle skirts, pleated suits and coordinated pastel pumps to the beach. Of course, there's nary a drop of sweat in sight. We wonder: Is Miucci of reptilian ancestry, insensitive to hot and cold, or does she anticipate universal adoption of the "Botox in the armpits" trend?
... It's rare to see a full-length TV advertisement for a fashion magazine, but the new consumption-mad Lucky has apparently pulled no punches in its promotional onslaught. The new television ads (currently being repeated ad nauseam on the WB) feature a spacey-looking blond rifling through -- and rejecting -- a rack of gaudy clothes. After watching the ad at least two dozen times, the burning question on our minds is, Where on earth do Lucky's editors shop? What boutique hangs a polka dot chiffon blouse, a studded vinyl tank top, a pink suede jacket and a western-wear diamanté shirt all on the same rack? We'll pay for the address.
... Just when you thought that every unflattering look from the 1980s had already made its brief circuit on the catwalk -- think leg warmers, shoulder pads and neon -- it seems the fashion industry is out to punish us some more. Yes, it's the return of micro-miniskirts, featured in not one but two spreads in the February edition of Vogue. Take the brown Dolce & Gabbana micro-minidress. (Please.) Not only does it not cover the model's (nonexistent) butt; it's slit up to her waist and held together with gold chain-link, exposing everything else. Writes Anna Wintour, in her gushing endorsement of the micro-mini, "Supposedly our financial fortunes rise and fall with our hemlines." Certainly the purveyors of cellulite cream are headed for a windfall.
-- Janelle Brown