Sigmund Freud would be having a field day - should he still be around, of course – with examining and analysing the fashion world’s (or would 'industry' be less obsessive, Mr. Freud?) latest object of desire; breasts. Haven’t you heard? They’re back! Now, if you, like me, are a member of the hysterical, mother-hating, penis-envying group of our population, a.k.a. a woman, you’ll already have a set of those in which case, hurrah! You already own a must-have.
If you are to believe (and why wouldn’t you?) what’s being constantly reported in newspapers, magazines and blogs from around 14:50 GMT on 10 March this year - the instant Marc Jacobs disappeared from view at the finale of his Louis Vuitton show - it’s all about the woman, the womanly figure, 'real' women, ample bosoms and busts, breasts. The rumour mill was already in full swing with the coronation of Lara Stone as The Model and more importantly, Miuccia Prada’s earlier show in Milan where she very clearly made her case for the season. And so, a trend was born. Isn’t fashion beautiful in its simplicity?
It’s not that simple, of course, and Mr. Jacobs and Mrs. Prada are keen cultural observers that manage to capture the zeitgeist in more ways than simply cutting a mean corset. So, what I find annoying and, on a bad day, insulting in its cheap-and-easy, headline-making, single-mindedness is the media’s way of dealing with the issue. Hence, 'Breasts are Back!' Excuse me, but mine have always been here. They were there but inconspicuous as a tomboy kid more interested in fights and bicycles than frills and Barbies, there whether I liked it or not as a teenager when I looked down one day and a ‘Hello, boys’ explosion happened in my head, and – hold on, let me check – yep, here as I’m typing this right now. In fact, and here goes a statement to rock the world of science, breasts have always been here.
I would have loved to see the expression on Mrs. Prada’s face when she told Sarah Mower backstage for Style.com that 'it’s normal clothes'. It is and they are but Miuccia seems to understand both the silly side of fashion and its part in a woman’s life. So, her belted cable-knit sweaters and frothy ruffled balconies on a dress are just clothes. So are Phoebe Philo’s silky white blouses and leather skirts at Céline and Dolce e Gabbana’s stripped-down lingerie pieces and indeed, every single heavy but wonderful petticoated skirt Marc Jacobs sent out at Louis Vuitton. And why not, at least, attempt to control Elle Macpherson’s 'ample bosom' in one of his finale dresses?
But fashion can also be a powerful statement about our times and how we view key issues and the adolescent boy’s view that’s pervaded the industry so far seems inadequate to offer a substantial point of view. A woman can be a sex symbol or a schoolgirl or a Mad Men-esque caricature with a kick-ass wardrobe and isn’t-everything-swell attitude but what about now? What about 2010 and 2011? If I dared decipher Mrs. Prada’s Seer-like statement, I’d say she means just that; it’s about normal clothes. To be worn and adored and dropped for next season’s look by those flat-chested, ample-bosomed and everything in between among us. But what do I know? I’m only a woman on the verge of hysteria and Uncle Freud is telling me to go and lie down.