That's Hot

The Noughties Are Back In Fashion, And It’s Hot

Dust off those bumsters and bedazzlers because the sexy, splashy, sparkly styles of the 2000s are back.

The Noughties Are Back In Fashion, And It’s Hot
Mugler, Fall 2021

What goes around always comes back around (in fashion, at least) and this season, everything noughties is nice again. The appeal of this particular brand of nostalgia is clear: it was a simpler time when The Simple Life was the hottest thing on TV. There was no social media. Instead of influencers, celebrities set the agenda.

But celebrity in that age was different — it was more unattainable, and therefore more aspirational; more unvarnished, thus more fascinating.

Like most fashion trends, the return of the 2000s is part of a wider cultural shift. The icons who defined the era are back in our collective consciousness. So often ridiculed then, these women are now reclaiming and rewriting their narratives.

Dolce & Gabbana, Spring 2022
Dolce & Gabbana, Spring 2022

Paris was the star of a hit documentary that revealed the (smart, strong) person behind the ditsy-blonde persona; Britney is free, living her best life and sharing it on Instagram — bare breasts and all; Lindsay is scoring lead roles again; J.Lo is enjoying a career renaissance, and even Bennifer is back from the dead. As they re-enter the spotlight, so too have their uniforms.

The TikTok generation is excavating and poring over their looks, defined by plenty of cleavage, exposed midriffs, revealing thongs in low-riding jeans, skirts barely larger than a belt and a penchant for bedazzling. After two years of athleisure and loungewear, the return of look-at-me fashion and party-girl dresses couldn’t have come at a better time.

Versace, Spring 2022
Versace, Spring 2022

No one nailed the look quite like Nicola Brognano at Blumarine. In its Y2K heyday, the brand’s fun and flirty dresses were a favourite of Paris and Lindsay on the red-carpet circuit.

Now, Brognano, who showed his first collection for the house for Fall/Winter 2021, is giving Blumarine a second wind. For Spring/Summer 2022, the designer leaned hard into the feel-good glitz and flash of 2000s fashion.

Blumarine, Spring 2022
Blumarine, Spring 2022

On his pink glitter-strewn runway were butterfly tops and butterfly belts, matching fringed bras and miniskirts, shrunken jackets with faux-fur collars, wispy chiffon dresses with plunging necklines and thigh-high slits, baggy blue jeans and tiny pink denim cut-offs, and new takes on the Juicy sweatsuit.

In a conversation with Hypebae, Brognano said:

“I wanted to show a collection that talks about happiness, sexiness, freedom. I feel close to the early 2000s because I grew up in those years. From the heritage of the brand, I wanted to revisit the sense of sensuality, not in a vulgar way, but with irony and lightness of touch. I feel it was the right moment to talk about [the early 2000s] because today, people need happiness, joy and a sense of lightness in their lives more than ever. These three elements with a touch of glamour describe [the era] perfectly.”

Blumarine, Spring 2022
Blumarine, Spring 2022

That clearly resonates. Brognano’s pieces for Blumarine have been snapped up by celebrities the likes of Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa. The latter two are arguably the current reigning queens of the Y2K revival; they also favour other labels like Nensi Dojaka and Casey Cadwallader’s Mugler.

Nensi Dojaka, Spring 2022
Nensi Dojaka, Spring 2022

The former made waves last year when she scooped up the LVMH Prize with her sheer, strappy dresses and lingerie-inspired pieces whose delicateness belie their intricate construction, while the latter has been winning high-profile fans like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Miley Cyrus with catsuits and dresses engineered to accentuate the female form.

Both Dojaka and Cadwallader’s aesthetics are rooted in a stripped-back, ’90s sensibility, which laid the groundwork for the unapologetic celebration of the body demonstrated by the stars of the 2000s.

Mugler, Fall 2021
Mugler, Fall 2021

The big difference between the 2000s and the 2020s is that today, sexiness is an equal-opportunity game — gender is no barrier to how much skin one can bare. And no other designer in recent years has gained as much traction for their vision of sex positivity than Ludovic de Saint Sernin.

His debut collection, launched in 2017, even referenced Stripped-era Christina Aguilera — only with a boy in those skintight lace-up leather pants. Since then, the designer has expanded his label to include womenswear, though there is very little distinction between that and menswear.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Spring 2022
Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Spring 2022

On his runways, boys and girls alike stride out in his bandage tops, leather bumsters and crystal underwear. One of his standout looks this season was a shredded, spangled slip that instantly brought to mind the silver chainmail dress that Paris wore to her 21st birthday party in 2002.

As exciting as the young designers bringing sexy back to fashion are, the OGs who helped usher in the look the first time around still have plenty to say on the topic. One cannot talk about sexed-up Y2K style without mentioning Versace. After all, it was Donatella who put J.Lo in that dress — breaking the Internet and popularising Google Images search.

Versace, Spring 2022
Versace, Spring 2022

This season, the designer reprised her greatest hits from that era for a new generation. Chainmail? Check. Latex in searing hues? Check. Bra tops and bustiers moulded onto the bust and little wrap skirts slung low on the waist? Check, check and check.

J.Lo was also there at Dolce & Gabbana — in spirit, as well as splashed onto T-shirts. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have entered the Y2K chat, and for good reason. The duo kickstarted many of the major trends 20 years ago and make their return with lingerie tops and logo-ed underwear, blinged-out denim and glittering fringe, camo and animal prints galore.

Dolce & Gabbana, Spring 2022
Dolce & Gabbana, Spring 2022

While sexy is not new territory for Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, it was novel for their fellow Italian powerhouse, Miuccia Prada. The designer added her contrarian voice to the noughties discourse, fashioning the season’s teensiest tops and skirts out of chopped-up business attire at Miu Miu.

In her show notes, Prada called the collection “an exercise in using the existing to create the new”. The results looked as though the Miu Miu woman set a pair of scissors loose on her classic, conservative button-downs and khaki trousers.

Miu Miu, SS 2022
Miu Miu, SS 2022

Though there was indeed plenty of skin on show, the sex appeal came from the attitude. Instead of “borrowing” from the boys, she decided to make it completely her own.

Cadwallader put it best when he said to W Magazine that sexy is now “not about turning a man’s head. It’s about making you feel awesome; it’s about being sexy as an extension of your own confidence.” Paris and friends would certainly agree.

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