Prepare yourselves ladies, the mini skirt is back in all its glory and it’s a look that most certainly has legs
It was back in the 1960s when small-time London designer Mary Quant unveiled her head-turning, boundary-crossing item of clothing known as the mini skirt, said to have been named after her beloved Mini Cooper car. Not long after, British fashion model Jean Shrimpton sported a controversial white mini to Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, and the way women dressed was changed in an instant. Fast forward to SS22 and the idea of the thigh- skimming garment as a symbol of optimism and rebellion has inspired designers yet again, with everyone from Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri to Alaïa’s Pieter Mulier raising hemlines to exceptional heights.
“Mini skirts are a huge trend for SS22, but let’s be honest, they never really went out of style,” says Lamia Dahmash, senior private client stylist at Farfetch. “Industry icons Twiggy and Naomi Campbell have kept the trend alive for years, while brands such as Tom Ford regularly cite the mini skirt as a central piece of several highly celebrated collections.”
Looking back over the years, the mini has made countless headlines. Twiggy, one of first influential figures to hop on the trend and became the poster girl of the mini skirt movement, made waves when she stepped off a plane at a London airport in 1967 in a Bohemian skirt and top set. Then there was that 1993 ‘supers’ mini moment when Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell stepped out together in thigh-skimming numbers at the London Fashion Week Designer of the Year Awards. What it lacks in size, the mini skirt sure makes up for in attitude.
It’s a trend that has created style icons from pop fiction characters, too. Look at Clueless star Cher Horowitz, played by Alicia Silverstone, who sparked a plaid mini phenom. “That mini skirt outfit is iconic,” adds Dahmash. “Cher is the queen of preppy dressing and I am here for it.” Today, supermodels including Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner are all flaunting mini skirts on both red carpets and the after-party circuit, highlighting this trend’s timelessness. The cult resurgence for 2022, however, seems stronger than ever, and like most things right now, we have the pandemic to thank for that. “There’s something fun about the mini skirt, and after spending so much time in loungewear over the last two years, we are once again looking at dressing up in a way that feels positive – and quite literally, uplifting,” Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-a-Porter tells MOJEH.
And not forgetting the circular element to trends, which means they often come back to the forefront of fashion, it really is the mini skirt’s time to shine. “In recent years, mini skirts have made appearances in some designers’ collections, but for SS22 we’ve really seen them take centre stage as part of the Y2K trend, putting Gen Z on the map as buyers and the future of fashion,” Page adds. But that doesn’t mean we’re forgetting the nostalgia that comes for other generations revisiting the trend the second or even third time around. It all started at Milan Fashion Week with that magical moment that saw Fendi’s Kim Jones and Versace’s Donatella swap houses to create two uniquely brilliantly collections for their rivals, with mini skirts in particular central to the latter’s new-look Fendi aesthetic. Practically screaming Y2K, we saw micro A-line numbers emblazoned with Karl Lagerfeld’s double-F logo and fastened with a Versace safety pin, patchwork denim iterations worn low on the hips, and gold chainmail pieces sported by the beautiful Emily Ratajkowski. Elsewhere, Page points to Bottega Veneta’s knitted micro numbers paired with matching jackets, as well as Nanushka’s vegan leather black minis for day-to-night appeal. “Valentino’s denim mini skirts are great versatile staples for every closet too,” she adds.
Hemlines got even higher at Emilio Pucci, with sheath skirts barely bigger than belts, while at Missoni incoming creative director Alberto Caliri opted for simple mini metallics with a less-is-more approach. Believe it or not, the minis got even more daring at Miu Miu, where Miuccia Prada’s first collection to be presented to a real-life audience since the pandemic has us reminiscing about an early noughties Christina Aguilera thanks to micro minis teamed with shirts and cropped knits, many looks showing off the midriff in its entirety. Blumarine SS22 is also of particular note, where sunshine yellow designs make for a perfect addition to any summer wardrobe. Then at Dior, Grazia Chiuri channeled the swinging sixties with hem lengths sliced to the mid- thigh. Some were classic, while others came emblazoned with graphic stripes and a blown-up leopard motif from the House’s signature Toile de Jouy.
“It represents revolution and the spirit of youth, and I very much like the ideas of the younger generation right now,” noted Chiuri ahead of her show. “When I worked for Mr Valentino, he used to say that mini skirts were only for young women, but I don’t agree with him – I would be wearing them, too, and they’re easy to walk in. Anyone can wear them – as long as it’s not cold.”
Styling a mini depends on your personal style, and there’s no one-look-suits-all. For a grungier daytime look, pair with sneakers, flats or combat boots, and apply minimal makeup and accessories. For the evening, a pair of platforms, slingbacks or knee-high boots will elevate your look. If you’re erring on the side of caution, don’t fret – a slew of designers managed to work the mini in a more modest way this season too, making it a perfect wardrobe addition for the region. Case in point? Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons crafted sultry satin minis complete with a longer train at the back for their first live runway presentation streamed simultaneously in Milan and Shanghai. The trend looks just as chic over a pair of thigh high boots too (hello, Givenchy), while at Louis Vuitton and Max Mara, long blazers and coats over minis are a toe- dip into the world of unconventional silhouettes.
When it comes to the rules for your mini this season, Dahmash hits us with four key tips. Firstly, don’t go too short – skirts that rest about three inches above your knee are perfect if you feel self-conscious about showing too much leg. Secondly, pay attention to proportions – if you’re exposing your legs, covering your arms can help add a balanced look and is a much classier way to embrace the trend. Thirdly, it’s all about trial and error, so be sure to experiment with different fabrics and silhouettes to find one that works perfectly for your body. And last but not least, if you still have your reservations, don’t think twice about teaming with trousers or tights – why not experiment with different types such as fishnet, lace or sheer to elevate your look even further?
Of course, the catwalk-esque mini isn’t for everyone, but designers’ commitment to the style could certainly be seen as confirmation that it is more than just a passing trend. And an empowering one at that. “The mini skirt’s meteoric rise coincided with the beginning of the women’s rights movement of the 1960s, and has recently become synonymous with empowerment in the body positivity movement, allowing women of all shapes and ages to embrace it,” explains Page. “The mini skirt can be extremely empowering, especially as it represents women who wear what they choose, to become the most confident version of themselves.” Exactly the way it should be.
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- Words by Naomi Chadderton