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Naked dress is out!

Where Michelle Obama and Kendall Jenner tread in fashion, others follow. Should they both divert down the same path . . . well, that’s a recipe for a trend to sweep the nation. Such was the case in the fall of 2016, when both the First Lady and the First It Girl of Modeling sported chain-mail dresses. Mrs. Obama’s was a rosy, custom-made Atelier Versace gown that our own Michelle Ruiz called “a mic drop on eight years of fashion slayage.” Jenner’s dress was also custom, a silvery sliver of a thing that evoked Paris Hilton’s metal mesh 21st-birthday dress from 2002. (Maybe it’s no coincidence that Jenner wore the frock to her own 21st-birthday party.) Though dissimilar in style, the pair of evening ensembles set in motion a trend toward chain-mail fashion that’s taken hold of celebrity style—and shows no signs of letting up in 2017.

Those with an eye to the runways could have predicted this happening. After seasons of semi-sheer, embroidered gowns from celebrity-frequented houses like Versace, Balmain, and Gucci, the Spring 2017 catwalks swapped some of that romantic sensuality for more opulent glitz. Chain-mail numbers appeared at Balmain, where Olivier Rousteing paraded a finale of gold, silver, and bronze dresses. Post-show, Kim Kardashian West changed out of the “naked dress” she was wearing in the front row and into a chain-mail number for the after-party, embodying the shift toward this new evening glamour in a single gesture. Over at Paco Rabanne, the house made famous in the 1960s and ’70s by its founder’s chain-mail dresses, Julien Dossena continued to rework the material into smart separates. Versace and Gucci might not always go full metal jacket—okay, or dress—but they did favor glitter, as in the red crystal finale dress at Versace and the gold sequins and beads at Gucci.

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