PuLLing THReads witH Paul: 

The five sexiest runways of all time

Sass, sex, and self-love are the latest buzzwords in fashion’s vast vocabulary. Temperatures are rising at Fashion Month, with each runway doubling as a peepshow for subliminal messaging and seduction. Everywhere you turn, there are new renditions of what female sexuality looks like today. Sex still sells and, beyond a commercial proposition, designers see it as a philosophy. 

Building a varied edit, one that revolves around the new age of female sexuality, KOIBIRD forms part of this. From Coperni’s modernist fantasy to Poster Girl’s erotically-charged paean to Y2K style, Germanier’s dramatic exuberance and the daring simplicity of Victor Glemaud’s fit-and-flare pieces, the results reveal a multiplicity of takes. Elsewhere, AREA – the New York brand named after the nightclub that ruled the city in the 80s – straddles kitsch and glamour with argyle cardigans, corsets and mini dresses embellished with crystals and spikes. Harking back to the decade and its libidinal proclivities, the renewal of Hervé Léger’s sultry bandage dresses — which famously celebrate the female form — feels right for 2022.

It only feels right, then, to compile the top 5 sexiest runway shows of all time.

VERSACE
Autumn/Winter 1995

As far as sex in fashion is concerned, Gianni Versace is a founding father. With his Italian flair for seduction, the autumn/winter 1995 collection is a prime example of the work he produced. Oozing sensuality, Vogue declared “the body is back,” when they reviewed it. Belted jackets slipped off the shoulders, abbreviated Grecian-inspired dresses revealed ample decolletage, and boxy suiting was rendered with a knowing playfulness. This is not to mention the starry catwalk consisting of 90s supermodels Helena Christenesen, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell, who were equally responsible for defining an important moment in fashion history. 

TOM FORD FOR GUCCI
Autumn/Winter 1996

When Texan designer Tom Ford arrived at Gucci in the 90s, the fashion paradigm shifted irrevocably. Breathing new life into the house, Ford amped up the sexual appeal leading to a time of unforgettable imagemaking. Think evocative advertising campaigns with barely-there clothing, an interlocking G G-string, and pervasive sensuality. The 1996 autumn/winter collection, a monochromatic parade of luxurious officewear with an erotic twist, opened with Kate Moss in a slinky unbuttoned silk shirt and lean trousers. In this collection, sex was implicit. It was an attitude so ingrained in Ford’s psyche that the imagination could do all the work. From the models’ strut to the clean lines throughout, the sexual tension still resonates today. 

VERSACE
Autumn/Winter 1995

As far as sex in fashion is concerned, Gianni Versace is a founding father. With his Italian flair for seduction, the autumn/winter 1995 collection is a prime example of the work he produced. Oozing sensuality, Vogue declared “the body is back,” when they reviewed it. Belted jackets slipped off the shoulders, abbreviated Grecian-inspired dresses revealed ample decolletage, and boxy suiting was rendered with a knowing playfulness. This is not to mention the starry catwalk consisting of 90s supermodels Helena Christenesen, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell, who were equally responsible for defining an important moment in fashion history. 

TOM FORD FOR GUCCI
Autumn/Winter 1996

When Texan designer Tom Ford arrived at Gucci in the 90s, the fashion paradigm shifted irrevocably. Breathing new life into the house, Ford amped up the sexual appeal leading to a time of unforgettable imagemaking. Think evocative advertising campaigns with barely-there clothing, an interlocking G G-string, and pervasive sensuality. The 1996 autumn/winter collection, a monochromatic parade of luxurious officewear with an erotic twist, opened with Kate Moss in a slinky unbuttoned silk shirt and lean trousers. In this collection, sex was implicit. It was an attitude so ingrained in Ford’s psyche that the imagination could do all the work. From the models’ strut to the clean lines throughout, the sexual tension still resonates today. 

CHRISTIAN DIOR
Spring/Summer 2000

Spiky provocation is John Galliano’s modus operandi. Spring/summer 2000 witnessed models draped in extravagant sable and chinchilla coats, hiding effervescent chiffon dresses, and the introduction of the newspaper print (famously worn by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City). Imbuing the clothing with romantic whimsy, the show possessed Galliano’s signature coquettish frisson. 

MAXIMILIAN
Spring/Summer 2021

From his first collection as part of talent incubator Fashion East, it was abundantly clear that Maximilian Davis was ushering in a new mentality in the London fashion scene. Set apart from his kooky peers, Davis displayed elegant Caribbean sensuality with a hint of heat. From slashed calf leather dresses to evening gowns with plunging necklines, the collection was a slick demonstration of his talent. 

MOWALOLA
Spring/Summer 2023

Following a three year hiatus, Nigerian-born designer Mowalola Ogunlesi returned to Paris Fashion Week in June 2022 with a collection refracted through the “prism of brazen raunch.” With the theme of thieves in mind, Mowalola’s world of bankers, pastors and hackers was given an NSFW reimagination with chests, breasts, clavicles, midriffs — and much more — on display. From a black dress with a crucifix cut-out at the chest to flaunt nipples and hipbone cutouts (worn by a male model no less) to lowrise trousers and skimpy shorts, Ogunlesi remained unambiguous in her attempts to democratise displays of the body across gender with men and women given the same treatment. The effect of the deeply nuanced collection was searingly hot.

TOM FORD FOR GUCCI
Autumn/Winter 1996

When Texan designer Tom Ford arrived at Gucci in the 90s, the fashion paradigm shifted irrevocably. Breathing new life into the house, Ford amped up the sexual appeal leading to a time of unforgettable imagemaking. Think evocative advertising campaigns with barely-there clothing, an interlocking G G-string, and pervasive sensuality. The 1996 autumn/winter collection, a monochromatic parade of luxurious officewear with an erotic twist, opened with Kate Moss in a slinky unbuttoned silk shirt and lean trousers. In this collection, sex was implicit. It was an attitude so ingrained in Ford’s psyche that the imagination could do all the work. From the models’ strut to the clean lines throughout, the sexual tension still resonates today. 

TOM FORD FOR GUCCI
Autumn/Winter 1996

When Texan designer Tom Ford arrived at Gucci in the 90s, the fashion paradigm shifted irrevocably. Breathing new life into the house, Ford amped up the sexual appeal leading to a time of unforgettable imagemaking. Think evocative advertising campaigns with barely-there clothing, an interlocking G G-string, and pervasive sensuality. The 1996 autumn/winter collection, a monochromatic parade of luxurious officewear with an erotic twist, opened with Kate Moss in a slinky unbuttoned silk shirt and lean trousers. In this collection, sex was implicit. It was an attitude so ingrained in Ford’s psyche that the imagination could do all the work. From the models’ strut to the clean lines throughout, the sexual tension still resonates today. 

CHRISTIAN DIOR
Spring/Summer 2000

Spiky provocation is John Galliano’s modus operandi. Spring/summer 2000 witnessed models draped in extravagant sable and chinchilla coats, hiding effervescent chiffon dresses, and the introduction of the newspaper print (famously worn by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City). Imbuing the clothing with romantic whimsy, the show possessed Galliano’s signature coquettish frisson. 

MAXIMILIAN
Spring/Summer 2021

From his first collection as part of talent incubator Fashion East, it was abundantly clear that Maximilian Davis was ushering in a new mentality in the London fashion scene. Set apart from his kooky peers, Davis displayed elegant Caribbean sensuality with a hint of heat. From slashed calf leather dresses to evening gowns with plunging necklines, the collection was a slick demonstration of his talent. 

Section
Drop element here!

Iona:
Borough Market is a home from home for me. As a young girl, I would go with my father on a weekly basis and knew some of the shopkeepers on a first name basis. Terry the chocolatier who let us choose extra chocs for free was my favourite for obvious reasons. It was less luxe then, and whilst many of the familiar faces have switched out, there are a few mainstays. Known for its extraordinary range of fruit and veg (think anything from salsify to niche citruses such as bergamots, kumquats and Meyer lemons), Turnips is one of them. More recently, a chocolate fountain has materialised, and with that, cheesy images of couples feeding each other chocolate-covered strawberries, or licking chocolate from each other’s bodies (sorry Dad) have sprung to mind. Whilst we didn’t go that far, we did devour a pot of strawberries smothered in molten chocolate. When I say we, I mean me. Flora loathes fruit. But iit was all about the glistening chocolate that we found ourselves ourselves licking from the plastic container. Delicious? Yes. Sexy? No.

LIBIDO RATING: 5/10
Wearing: Connor Ives T-shirt dress

Flora:
For me, chocolate has to be up there as one of the top aphrodisiacs of all time. There’s a reason it’s one of the most consumed food items across the world, is a part of ancient cultural rituals and is often used as a gift to show affection. It felt right, then, that it would be the first pitstop on our tour. We went to the famous Turnips, known for their endless boxes of fruit and veg and more recently, cups of fresh fruit slathered in molten milk chocolate. Turned on? Well, in all honesty, I don’t actually think the fruit was sexy at all – it was all about the oozing chocolate that stained our mouths and fingers for me. My advice? Forgo the fruit and get a cup of chocolate instead. At heart, I’m a purist.

LIBIDO RATING: 4/10
Wearing: Rowen Rose Vegan Leather Jacket, Rowen Rose vegan leather mini skirt

MAXIMILIAN
Spring/Summer 2021

From his first collection as part of talent incubator Fashion East, it was abundantly clear that Maximilian Davis was ushering in a new mentality in the London fashion scene. Set apart from his kooky peers, Davis displayed elegant Caribbean sensuality with a hint of heat. From slashed calf leather dresses to evening gowns with plunging necklines, the collection was a slick demonstration of his talent. 

MOWALOLA
Spring/Summer 2023

Following a three year hiatus, Nigerian-born designer Mowalola Ogunlesi returned to Paris Fashion Week in June 2022 with a collection refracted through the “prism of brazen raunch.” With the theme of thieves in mind, Mowalola’s world of bankers, pastors and hackers was given an NSFW reimagination with chests, breasts, clavicles, midriffs — and much more — on display. From a black dress with a crucifix cut-out at the chest to flaunt nipples and hipbone cutouts (worn by a male model no less) to lowrise trousers and skimpy shorts, Ogunlesi remained unambiguous in her attempts to democratise displays of the body across gender with men and women given the same treatment. The effect of the deeply nuanced collection was searingly hot.

MOWALOLA
Spring/Summer 2023

Following a three year hiatus, Nigerian-born designer Mowalola Ogunlesi returned to Paris Fashion Week in June 2022 with a collection refracted through the “prism of brazen raunch.” With the theme of thieves in mind, Mowalola’s world of bankers, pastors and hackers was given an NSFW reimagination with chests, breasts, clavicles, midriffs — and much more — on display. From a black dress with a crucifix cut-out at the chest to flaunt nipples and hipbone cutouts (worn by a male model no less) to lowrise trousers and skimpy shorts, Ogunlesi remained unambiguous in her attempts to democratise displays of the body across gender with men and women given the same treatment. The effect of the deeply nuanced collection was searingly hot.

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