Charlotte Knowles knows what lies below


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Lily McMurray / courtesy of Charlotte Knowles

Dorothy Parker maintained that "conciseness is the soul of lingerie," but Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault may differ. They hosted their first show at London Fashion Week in September in London which they & # 39; militarized & # 39; lingerie and corset-influenced looks for & # 39; a woman who, as Arsenault puts it, & # 39; is ready to fight & # 39; The show begins with Lily McMenamy in a bustier and cycling shorts that felt more like tactical wear than underwear, a spandex riposte for those who would say dressing in the post-#MeToo era coverage. & # 39; People are tired of (the idea that) the only way to empower women is with big suits, & # 39; says Arsenault, who was inspired by the girls he grew up with in the stubborn punk scene in Montreal. & # 39; They would wear the craziest outfits, and you couldn't undermine them because they were so empowered. & # 39;

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Gigi Hadid wears Charlotte Knowles.

Gotham

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Bella Hadid wears Charlotte Knowles.

Dimitrios Kambouris

Partners in design and in life, Knowles and Arsenault met in the MA program at Central Saint Martins. Knowles' graduate collection there holds the seeds of her later work, mocking the male gaze with the appearance of exaggerated silicone bra cups. While she and Arsenault never studied formal corsetry, they have since become deeply involved in investigating its history, along with the history of military garments such as bulletproof jackets. This combination – the fragile with the wild animal – appealed to them, as did the concept of inventing revealing clothing for a modern woman. Arsenault theorizes that the increasingly unclear lines between public and private have made this style more palatable. & # 39; With social media, there is more and more transparency, & # 39; he says. & # 39; People have the choice to show what they want. It is much easier to put on things that are more revealing because they have control over them. & # 39; The two say they are careful to prevent the clothes from making the wearer objective. & # 39; Even though she wears a very small outfit, it's never sexual, & # 39; says Arsenault. Adds Knowles: “It's really about the nuances and the placement. It is widely considered – where we reveal and what we choose to reveal. "

Their vision has already connected with celebrity fans such as Solange Knowles and Hunter Schafer. But their name recognition really got a hump when Bella Hadid carried a two-part Charlotte Knowles look at the VMAs, which was unexpected, according to the two. & # 39; We didn't know she was going to wear it, & # 39; says Knowles. & # 39; The morning after, we were marked in & # 39; a lot of things. & # 39; Call it the Instagram era's version of & # 39; A Cinderella Story.

Buy Charlotte Knowles at ssense.com

This article appears in the February 2020 issue of ELLE.

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