The hip bone is the new cleavage
It's time to embrace the 'Pelvage'
For everyone who has had enough of the shoulder peeking out of every fathomable frock or blouse, it’s time to rejoice. There’s a whole new body part that needs our attention right now. The hip. Or rather, that usually-panty-clad part of the body where the hip joint meets the pelvic bone, also the ilium, as it is biologically known.
So private and provocative is this new reveal, that it has a unique term to describe its allure: ‘pelvage’, a contraction of ‘pelvic’ and ‘cleavage’ that refers to the slightly concave area that extends into your nether regions. Yes, far more daunting than its predecessors, the sideboob, the innerboob and the underbutt.
Nervous? Understandably. The hip has always been regarded the Indian woman’s nemesis, alongside gulab jamuns. Not only that, it’s a region that has usually been tucked away securely under our low-slung briefs ever since the ’90s. Let’s, for an instant, recall the high-cut leg of the Baywatch babes’ swimsuits. They exposed much pelvage, but back then too, the high-leg leotards were mostly worn with nylon tights to conceal what we intend to show off today. Now these high-cut bodysuits are being worn with low-slung tracks, flashing a slice of taut flesh, by every millennial It Girl worth her millions, be it the Hadids, the Kardashians or the Jenners.
Bella Hadid stormed the Cannes red carpet last year in this dangerously revealing gown
No doubt, these women have bodies sculpted out of steel, but here’s the cheat code: body positivity! Embracing one’s own shape has never been trendier and more treasured. Moreover, Indian women are blessed with a more curvaceous lower body, which only makes playing peekaboo with this body part even more attractive. And there are several ways to adopt this trend in a more discreet and less out-there fashion. Like with sheer cutout panels, as worn by Jennifer Lopez at the Met Ball last year. Or through a lace-up or slash detail running up the thigh and snaking into the hip region as displayed by model-of-the-moment Ashley Graham, whose curves are fashion’s biggest coup yet.
The hip is one of the most sensual parts of a woman’s body, but fashion has largely ignored its charm. Not since the 19th-century bustle has anyone, except Tom Ford, really played up its seductive power. In his fall ’95 show, Ford debuted a seemingly austere full-sleeved maxi-dress. However, anyone who knew the days of Ford at Gucci would know he never sent out a look that didn’t whet the desires of men. This ‘covered-up’ look had one exhibit, a cutout on the left hip with a sleek buckle clasping over the pelvic bone. This dress set the tone for the rest of the season and many more.
How can one forget the likes of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera dressed in precariously low-slung bootlegged jeans with their high-rise thongs peeking out. Most considered this visible thong to be a mere by-product of baggy jeans, an after-thought at best, but Tom Ford was the magician behind this micro-trend.
Something quite similar repeated itself when Anthony Vaccarello, now at the helm of Saint Laurent, sent out a brigade of models in hip-high slits that clandestinely crept up a little too high and exposed a part of the body that most onlookers were not used to seeing. Ungainly tan lines had until then been the only tell-tale signs of this otherwise hidden zone.
This was fall 2013, and slowly and stealthily this trend has moved away from a niche corner and into the limelight, with everyone from Chrissy Teigen to Gwyneth Paltrow embracing it in their own way. Closer home, Lisa Haydon Lalvani, nodded to the trend in a black cut-out gown by Shivan & Narresh with details highlighting her curved pelvic bone. Following in her footsteps was also Esha Gupta, in a noir Nikhil Thampi dress that had a mile-long slit up one side.
But the question still stands, is this hip-exhibit reserved for the red carpet? Well, not quite. It is a tricky and bold trend to wear and certainly not for the prudish or the fainthearted. However, there are several ways to shoot from the hip, by day and night.
A slim sliver or a slash, and not a full-blown hip cutout on the next evening dress, for instance. Or one could conceal and reveal with laced-up sides on a pair of tights, or look for mesh inserts, which are far more forgiving. There is no easy way to wear the hip-high slit, and it’s prudent to wear a high-leg bodysuit underneath. An unintentional blooper is never a victory.
While one is at it, throwing in multiple repetitions of Spiderman pushups, donkey kicks, chameleon walks and many minutes of the bridge pose is good practice. Plus lots of dry brushing, so one can get rid of some of the cellulite build-up in that region, since it barely sees the spotlight.
But ultimately, as Fatboy Slim’s Norman Cooks once said, “I make music for the hips, not the head.” Thinking about this too much is no good, just groom those thighs and hang that hip out.
Here’s how you can flaunt your hip bone in style
Elastane bralette, Rs 12,100, satin trousers, Rs 32,500, nylon hooded jacket, Rs 40,000; all DKNY
Cotton bikini top, cotton wrap skirt; both prices on request, Alexander Wang. Double crêpe sablé jacket, price on request, Michael Kors
Jersey gown, Rs 54,000, Shivan & Narresh
Lace bustier, lace thong; both prices on request, Hunkemöller. Georgette appliqué pants, price on request, Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna
Satin embroidered corset, silk satin jumpsuit; both prices on request, Fenty X PUMA
Lace halter-neck bralette, price on request, Hunkemöller. Leather pants, price on request, TommyXGigi by Tommy Hilfiger. Jacquard jacket, Rs 8,600, Hemant & Nandita
Lace bodysuit, price on request, Hunkemöller. Tulle skirt, price on request, Nishka Lulla
Neoprene bikini top, Rs 1,499, H&M. Cotton skort, Rs 34,000, Alexander Wang
Cotton shirt, Rs 34,000, Alexander Wang. Cotton skirt, price on request, Aquilano.Rimondi
Photographs Bikramjit Bose; Styling Rahul Vijay; Art Direction Reshma Rajiwdekar; Hair and Make-Up: Sandhya Shekar; Model: Ravyanshi Mehta/ Anima Creative Management; Production: Manisha Agrawal (Epitome Production), Parul Menezes; Assisted by: Aneri Koradia (Production), Salonee Khosla and Sejal Pendharkar (Styling)