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The photo of Irina Shayk walking through the streets of Cannes with a Gucci design consisting of a panties and a bra with the logo of the firm, only covered by a totally transparent gauze, is undoubtedly one of the images of the recently finished Cannes Festival that has remained in the retina of all.

The fashion of transparencies, cut-out designs -dresses with more or less large strategic openings-, infinite necklines both front and back, the openings of skirts to the waist ..., are the most seen outfits lately on red carpets.

Why here and now

Where does this taste for female nudity come from in plain sight? Is it just a fad or does it respond to a certain sociological context? Has so much meat ever been seen on display before? Doesn't it mean in practice a step backwards for women, who are once again objectified?

Surely when seeing the walk of Irina Shayk there was someone who put the cry in the sky (can not wear less clothes?). Well, it is not the first time in history that women have used their bodies as a means of expression.

A review of the history of fashion

The specialist in fashion culture, teacher, journalist and exhibition curator Charo Mora tells us, who goes back to Pharaonic Egypt to find the first historical example of nudity: "There was no kind of moral problem with the body, moreover, it was valued and transparencies were used a lot".

Megan Fox at the 2021 MTV Awards.Gtres

Closer to our time, in the years after the French Revolution, he finds another example: "A group of women, who were called The Marvellous (Les Merveilleuses), very fashionistas, dressed in the manner of Greco-Roman antiquity, with tunics of transparent fabrics, as can be seen in the paintings of the time."

From the French Revolution to flappers

We are talking about the eighteenth century. These wonderful women are supposed to have caused quite a stir. Well, it didn't. "It was not frowned upon," says Mora, "because they picked up that classic idea that truth was always represented symbolically through a, virtue."

This happened in a "very short period of the history of humanity and fashion, because the nineteenth century is distinguished by covering women a lot and it was not until after the Great War when, in the 20s, the flappers, with their lingerie dresses, returned to show necklines, legs and arms. "

Freedom of the twentieth century

Focusing on the overwhelming presence of female nudity in recent years, there is a reason. Mónica Codina, tenured professor of Communication Ethics at the University of Navarra, assures that "since the 60s the sexual revolution has been reflected in a progressive presence of sexuality in the cultural industry. The shows, the cinema, the entertainment programs have echoed a way of understanding sexuality that is reflected in a plastic way in the free exhibition of the body".

Jennifer Lopez at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.Gtres

In the same sense Charo Mora pronounces, stating that "in the twentieth century begins to see the conquest of the body of women as a reflection of the freedoms it achieves. She celebrates her own body, and displaying it is no reason for her to be assaulted for it."

Marketing operation?

The current female nude in public therefore has to do with a freedom that they achieved in the last century, but it is also framed in the pure and simple (or not so simple) marketing. "A communication strategy," Monica Codina calls it, "through which some brands achieve notoriety through transgression. Nudity is one way to do that."

And not just brands. The Cannes Film Festival itself, for example, traditionally invites women, beyond the leading actresses of the films that are presented, to give it more color and joy. This is the opinion of Marina Fernández, Director of Communication and RRII at the International School of Protocol, who remembers the starlettes of the 50s posing on the beach in Cannes and who introduces Irina Shayk, model, in this category: "She is doing her job, which is to give life to the festival as a starlette of 2023, strengthening his personal brand through this style decision and helping to talk about the event on a day when cinema was not for a mass audience."

Digital immediacy

Of course, there is a huge difference between those photos of starlettes of the 50s to that of Irina: while the latter only reached those who bought a newspaper or a magazine, that of the Russian model did not go around the world in 80 days, as Phileas Fogg did just barely, but in less than a minute. And here the digital world and the omnipresent social networks make their entrance, which in the opinion of Monica Codina "allow their users to become protagonists of the show, imitate celebrities and seek notoriety".

Natasha Poly at an amFar.Gtres gala

"As fashion is a phenomenon of imitation and distinction, users uncritically reproduce the styles of celebs. A way of having fun that poses problems when identity and personal self-esteem depend on collective approval expressed in the number of followers and 'likes'", says Codina, who goes a step further: "The overexposure of the body is also imitated by its followers as if it were a sign of beauty, obviating that the nude can also be sordid and is, certainly not very functional."

Where is the modesty? "Our culture has diluted it," explains Monica Codina, "and not only with respect to the exposure of corporeality, but also in other aspects that affect intimacy." And Charo Mora, already in 2023, assures that a look like Irina Shayk's "is possible and viable in the current historical context".

So transgression to some extent and marketing in abundance...

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