Fashion designers take the plunge as cleavage makes a comeback

NEW YORK — Cleavage and fashion have never really got along. It is not that cleavage is necessarily unfashionable, more that breasts often are not a consideration for high-fashion designers.

Model figures, from petite to Amazonian, are rarely busty and so the silhouettes presented either disguise, or often ignore altogether, the bust.

For Spring/Summer 2017, the catwalk trend was for modesty — floor-length dresses, long sleeves and high necklines — with not a collarbone in sight.

But what goes up must come down and, after a season of rising necklines, fashion is taking the plunge again.

Leading the charge is Susan Sarandon. Never one to toe the line (at May’s Cannes Film Festival, the 70-year-old actor raised eyebrows in a floor-length black leather skirt), her latest act of red carpet rebellion came in the form of a figure-hugging Hugo Boss dress, cut low across her decolletage and slit to mid-thigh, at the Venice Film Festival last week.

Cue the headlines: “Susan Sarandon, 70, flaunts eye-popping cleavage in busty gown,” read one. “Still got it!” shouted another. Still got what? A bust? Well, yes — bodies do not change that dramatically past 50. But catcalling aside, what is really so surprising to see here is fashion emphasising, rather than eliding, cleavage.

She is not alone. Another woman unafraid of a new trend (or her own figure) is Rihanna, whose playful approach to fashion saw her return to cleavage while the rest of us were still buttoning up to the top.

Case in point, that red Giambattista Valli Couture dress wore to the London premiere of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. “Rihanna almost bursts out of her dramatic red gown,” read one tabloid title.

And last weekend Amal Clooney, who usually errs on the side of conservative, eschewed safer choices for an Atelier Versace gown, BYO cleavage. It seems fashion’s modest moment really is at an end.

However outdated it may seem, to wear a low-cut top is to endure winks and over-familiar comments — from men and women alike. The only solution is not to care.

We can, at least, celebrate the fact that fashion designers are no longer pretending that breasts do not exist and giving us the option to bare ours or not.

For some, cleavage is a feminist statement; for others, it’s just a fashion choice. Either way, it’s time to undo a few buttons. — The Daily Telegraph