A new phrase has entered the fashion lexicon for spring/summer 2020: midriff flossing. Explainer: skirts with tie fastenings that wrap around the waist to highlight the stomach area. Although it might sound like an oddly complicated proposition, in practice it’s the kind of skirt Rachel Green would have worn when her fashion career became semi-serious. You know the sort: slimline, hip-hugging, mid-length, tie-side—the perfect modern workwear for mooching between Central Perk and Ralph Lauren’s head office.
The straight-fit ’00s midi skirt is having a resurgence thanks largely to Australian designer Christopher Esber, whose clients include Hailey Bieber, Dua Lipa, Emily Ratajkowski, Solange and Zendaya. As the latter’s stylist, Law Roach, told British Vogue in April, “Esber has a very gentle way of doing sexy… He’s very light-handed with the silhouettes and the cut-outs.” The deconstructed nature of the skirt is an ode to the laid-back Aussie lifestyle of undressing and redressing from beach to bar using artful tying techniques. See EmRata’s own brand Inamorata for how the model winds her tie fastenings around her waistline.
This whimsy belies the impeccable tailoring at Christopher Esber’s core: “If you open up [our dresses and skirts] you’ll find there are a lot of inner workings at play to control the cut-outs,” he explained. Style the sleek designs with flatform flip flops (The Row’s Ginza style is an editor-approved failsafe) and a tight vest or bandeau, like Camille Charrière who took her loophole skirt on holiday with her to the south of France.
London’s rising star Supriya Lele’s midriff flossing is rooted in the designer’s Indian heritage. “I’m always looking at my culture from a skeletal perspective,” she explained in the July issue of the magazine. The delicate draping and wispy tie fastenings on Lele’s skirts and dresses look sensual, as opposed to stereotypical. “It is the ghosts of these things, as opposed to doing a dupion trouser suit or putting a bindi on a model,” she added of her subtlety and lightness of touch.
Vintage obsessive Anne-Laure Mais of Musier Paris is making sure French It-girls, like Charrière, have enough tie-waisted skirts to see them through summer. Inspired by the surfer scene and the vibrant culture of Spain, Mais’s effortless philosophy plays into the same relaxed mood shared by Esber’s beach-frequenting customers. If sand and sea seem like a distant memory (here’s looking at you rainy England), enjoy sundowners in the city with your take on the flossing trend. When the evening cools (or the post-dinner fatigue sets in), button-up a tight knit cardigan (also very ’00s) and no one need be any the wiser of the ties slithering up your tummy.