Image Source: Getty/WWD / Contributor
You've likely seen clips of the Maison Margiela Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2024 show all over the internet over the last few days. Whether you've been trying to figure out the products that Pat McGrath used to create a real-life porcelain doll effect on the runway models or are simply fascinated with the theatrics of the presentation, you are not alone. The show was full of attention-grabbing moments, including the celebration of body hair with merkin underwear.
"Margiela really said couture bush!" user Andriana (abottegahoeneta) wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. In the accompanying photo from the runway, the model can be seen in a transparent tulle skirt with faux pubic hair on full display.
It's extremely rare to see body hair on any fashion runway, but especially when it's a brand as big as Margiela. "This is something that never comes up," master hairstylist Stanley Tines tells POPSUGAR. "For a fashion designer to make this is certainly an interesting choice."
Merkin underwear is a pubic wig that dates back to the Renaissance Era. "Historically, merkins were worn by prostitutes who shaved their pubic areas to keep clean," Tines says. "That way, they could keep free from lice. Also, if anyone had any sores, the wig would cover that." Earlier renditions of merkin underwear used animal hair. "They used horse hair, and it was more wefted as opposed to knotted onto a lace," Tines says. "Even if they did know how to attach the hair [like the method seen for Margiela], it would have been in big, chunkier knots."
While couture week is typically used to spotlight the intersection of art and beauty in the fashion space, the use of merkin underwear sends a refreshing message. Pubic hair should be normalised, particularly in spaces heavily marketed toward women, like fashion and beauty. Whether you're a proponent of the bush or not, it's exciting and long overdue to see features of natural bodies highlighted on such a large scale.