Monday, 10 October 2011


Alexa Chung is always beautifully turned out. That is not news. But the Yves St Laurent dress she wore to host the 2011 Elle Style Awards back in February was quite fascinating. A break from her usual coquettish 1970s school girl schtick, the dress fused 1950s influenced print with the trend of matching two-pieces from the same period. But it just wouldn't have been the same without the ribcage slash. On a dress like Alexa's YSL, a small flash of skin like this can be very seductive.

But the design principle of the whole piece has to be demure otherwise it will just end up looking cheap. The litmus test is really whether the piece would retain it's class without the peeping skin.

Below, the spellbinding Spring/Summer 2012 collection from the brilliant British designer Christopher Kane also uses cut-outs to create drama in conjunction with vibrant prints on otherwise minimalistic construction work.

Sadly neither the YSL piece nor the Saunders pieces are within the financial reach of most but with a little innovation it is possible to achieve this look by taking a different approach. At a recent premiere, actress Emma Stone wore a Luca Luca dress that used layers to create a peep.

Through simple combinations of high street pieces it's easy enough to get the slash-effect without shelling out. This week I have been experimenting with layers to inject a little bit of keyhole flirting with pieces from my own wardrobe.

Above: Customised, thrifted cardigan over a silk and satin layered camisole by Philip Lim label development.

One of my stock dressing principle is 'always check the rearview' but why just leave it at that? Below I tried out adding a bit of peephole interest to the back of my outfit.

Above: maroon Poleci t-shirt layered over a staple Topshop vest.

Above: Topshop Unique blue cotton jumper and Reiss silk camisole.

This might be one you have to build up to but have a rifle through your wardrobe and see if you can get into the mood.

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