Cyborgs, not goddesses: how breastplates became fashion’s feminist accessory
The musician Lorde appeared on the cover of US Vogue this week wearing a Schiaparelli breastplate. Metallic flowers became a makeshift brassiere, while stems acted as a waistband.
At Cannes in July, Bella Hadid wore a different gold breastplate, this one shaped like lungs, from the same Schiaparelli collection as Lorde’s. The look doubled as a piece of “look at me” red carpet mastery (“When I would look down, you could see everything, so it was very bizarre walking on to the carpet with a breeze in places you usually wouldn’t have a breeze,” she told Vogue), but also as a physical protection against the sea of photographers’ flashing bulbs.
“It entices us to look at her chest, but then repels us when we realise it is a gilded lung with jewelled bronchioles,” says Andrew Groves, a professor of fashion design at the University of Westminster. “There is a contradiction at play here of soft, fragile objects being recast in hard, cold gold.”