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Airing Out A Fresh Sexiness

Thursday, April 30, 2009

With warmer weather comes barer skin. And this spring, such collections as Narciso Rodriguez, Givenchy and Herve Leger explored exposure beyond deeply plunging necklines and ever-rising hemlines -- revealing slivers of flesh through cutout panels, crisscrossing straps and woven-cage shoes.

"I wanted to contrast a more feminine silhouette with an edgier embellishment," says Nomia designer Yara Flinn, who incorporated back and side panels into her latest collection. "I've always been kind of interested in a more subversive kind of sexiness."

The most important thing? Balance. The designer recommends pairing racier pieces -- like her line's Side Straps silk top -- with more traditional, grounded items such as jeans. For modest types, try layering a cutout top or dress over a bandeau, bodysuit or camisole in a contrasting color, or experimenting with cutouts through accessories, such as Elizabeth and James's bronze cuff or Jeffrey Campbell's fuchsia latticelike heels. If you're feeling a bit braver, try Larsen Gray's aptly named Shark Bite miniskirt, Loeffler Randall's turquoise linen tank or Charlotte Ronson's denim dress.

As the saying goes, sometimes less is more.

-- Michelle Thomas

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