On Sunday, Chrissy Teigen arrived at the American Music Awards with husband and singer John Legend, wearing what looked like a once-demure black dress artfully fashioned into several strips of fabric by Edward Scissorhands.
Because one precariously high slit was apparently too safe, Teigen wore two, both rising to abdomen height, and designed so that the concavity of a woman’s body—that telling underspace usually known only to her partner and gynecologist—is covered only by a wisp of floor-grazing fabric that could be swept aside with a sneeze.
This alluring garment—let’s call it the “gyno dress”—is not for the modestly immodest, but for women with sinewy legs and a devil-may-care attitude when it comes to potential wardrobe malfunctions.
On Teigen, the dress’ slits were fastened above the naval with two oversized safety pins, seemingly for fashion rather than function, since they did little to ensure the swaths of cloth actually concealed the model’s bodily hollows.
Not that she seemed to mind.
At one point on the red carpet, the frontal swath caught a breeze and flashed open, revealing Teigen’s “hooha,” as the model called it in a subsequent Instagram post of herself at the awards, apologizing to “anyone harmed mentally or physically” by its exposure.
Teigen, bless her, tagged the laser hair removal technician responsible for her bare lady bits, along with the makeup artist, hair stylist, and shoe and dress designer.
In theory, Teigen could have had something in place down there to prevent a wardrobe malfunction. After all, her black gown by designer Yousef Akbar isn’t the first double naval-high slit dress worn on the red carpet.
Indeed, the gyno dress has been quite literally on the rise for several years now.
Kendall Jenner wore one with dual slits up to her hips in 2014, and Italian models Guilia Salemi and Dayane Mello wore similar looks at the Venice Film Festival this year, but with strips of sewn-in fabric covering their nethers. That way, when they climbed the red carpet staircase, they could casually lift up their gowns without showing everything to everyone.
But I’d argue that the built-in strips revealed more than they concealed: wedged in between the models’ legs and pulled taut to their waists, they resembled old-fashioned sanitary belts women were forced to wear before Always invented less cumbersome alternatives.
The whole point of the double slit dress is to seemingly defy physics while keeping everyone in suspense, holding our breath with every adjustment and tiny move made by the woman wearing it.
The Italian models at the Venice Film Festival did the opposite, taking little care to move gracefully or avoid revealing those unbecoming fabric swatches covering (and tugging at) their money slots.
At the Cannes Film Festival this year, Bella Hadid narrowly avoided a Marilyn moment when the back of her flimsy red silk gown—an Alexandre Vauthier dress with a single hip-high slit—flew up in the air. But she managed, and it was only later that we learned her most necessary bits were protected by a built-in bodysuit.
Alternatives to the built-in bodysuit are the G-string or the Shibue, a strapless undergarment which is basically a piece of fabric that you glue on to that tender triangle of flesh.
Much as red carpet fixtures like Hadid are accustomed to the idea that beauty is pain, perhaps they’d do better to ditch the adhesives and chafing, built-in thongs, neither of which leaves much more to the imagination than going commando.
These dresses are not designed to cover anything up, but for the woman who is confident enough to wear them at her own peril. Why bother with the triangular fabric swatches when you can roam free and simply do your best to avoid giving the paps free shots? The women drawn to these precarious double-slit dresses aren’t prioritizing modesty, so they’re less likely to fret over a potential wardrobe malfunction anyway.
“The only advice I would have for wearing such dress is own the dress, and make it part of you,” Akbar, who designed Teigen’s dress, told Vogue Australia. “Definitely don’t worry about what other people think. Confidence is key.”
In other words, if you’re going to wear the “gyno gown,” you might as well wear it the way Teigen did: fearlessly, and with a sense of humor in the event of “hooha” exposure.