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Fishnet Pantyhose

Legs are back in fashion. Not since the 60's when miniskirts and hotpants ushered in a decade of colored, printed and fishnet stockings, have legs enjoyed so much exposure. Modernist Jean-Paul Gaultier is just one of the fashion leaders who is doing the haute leg, giving bodysuits and hosiery a brand new luxury twist for Spring 2000.

The fishnet, as opposed to the Internet, hosiery plays a big role in this hosiery revival. Fashion's favorite designers have put them on the runways and pronounced them chic. That's a long way from the time when they were associated with cabaret dancers, ladies of the night or Punk rockers.

Putting things in perspective, the current exhibition at The Fashion Institute of Technology, entitled The Little Black Dress and Other Signs of Status, is about black as a status symbol and how the same style connotes different meanings, depending on who wears it. As FIT's curator says: "By covering her legs in black hose, a woman may signal poverty, chastity, bohemian insouciance, or decrepitude. Opaque black hose bespeaks an urge to walk in shadows whether for modesty or seduction; black fishnets are imbued with an essence of hookerdom" regardless if they were bought at Prada or Fredericks of Hollywood. But all of this is changing quickly. Young Hollywood is embracing fishnets worn alone or over bright colored tights along with back-seamed nets that do wonders for the legs.

"Blame Canada" for the line dancers wearing fishnets provided by Danskin during the Oscar performance by Robin Williams. According to L'Wren Scott, style director for this years Oscars "The fishnets brilliantly completed the dancers' outfits, and the dancers loved them."

Now if you're ready to join the fishnet crowd here are a few suggestions. Try colors such as nude, cocoa and off-white to update office looks. Pair fishnets with checked pants for a Hollywood glam look. Layer fishnets with hues of pink, red, or blue hosiery underneath. Use caution when pairing layered fishnets with flower prints.

Still feeling a little uneasy about trying on a pair of fishnets? Wolford reinterprets the fishnet look in a pattern called Timaios. A combination of contrasting stripes on a net background which render the look of fishnet with the benefit of a slimming effect on the leg.

Known for innovative and sexy bodywear, Wolford teamed with fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier to offer special edition garments for Spring 2000.

Gaultier's inspiration led to the development of a pair of tights with a trompe-l'oeil effect of seamed stockings, making it much easier to keep the seam in the center where it belongs. The most exciting of the collection includes a bodysuit with standup collar reminiscent of "corsetiere", with a trompe-l'oeil bra and panty knitted into the one-piece body stocking. The final piece reminiscent of the film "Fifth Element" a faux garter-belt, string panties, seamed knee-highs with a reciprocated, reinforced, heel all in one piece.

Legs have always stood on their own when it came to changing fashion. Women revolted in the 70's when long skirts threatened to cover up this favorite asset. Never underestimate the power of the leg.

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