In perhaps what was a nod to fall '08's peplumed figures, the pre-fall '09 collections at Nina Ricci, Preen, Giambattista Valli, Alexander McQueen, and Max Mara all sucked in their bellies and offered hourglass shapes with dresses and frocks so nipped and cinched at the waist that we were just a tad concerned for the health of the models. Valli continued what Miuccia Prada had started earlier with a bold fuchsia frock and attached overskirt, while Nina Ricci's Olivier Theyskens channeled Dolce & Gabbana's dramatic corset belts with some heavy waisting of his own. And over at Preen, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi showed a stunning collection of bandage dresses and metallic coats, all super-skinny at the waist and big and bold at the top and bottom. McQueen, as is his want, dabbled in Edwardian kink, producing dresses and gowns so beautiful, you'd forget how hard it is to walk in them. So, should we expect a full return to this dangerously restrictive—if sexy—silhouette after years of seasons of sack dresses and babydoll shapes? Yes, you may have to get used to holding your breath. For a toned-down D.I.Y. approach, we suggest cinching in your heavy winter coat with a big, bold belt or obi sash and just wait for the catcalls to roll in. So, are you interested in doing the hourglass? Discuss below.
Above, left to right: Nina Ricci, Old-school corseting, Preen.Above, left to right: Alexander McQueen, "Le Corset" by Sieff Jeanloup, McQueen.