Hubert Burda Media

Mind the Gap: Cut-outs are Back

Skin-baring cut-outs are everywhere for summer. We find the best in show and discover what put peekaboo style on fashion’s radar.

It’s been a celeb underboob and sheer selfie kind of season. That is to say, flesh-bearing styles have been making a comeback. One look at fashion’s Insta feed or a quick glimpse at 2017’s red-carpet snaps prove that, for some on the style circuit, split, slit and slashed is what was missing from their wardrobes. While there are always those ready to showcase a dangerously high split-past-the-hip gown – Chrissy Teigen, Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner et al – we’re pleased to report that the cut-out trend is about more than simply hacking holes in clothes. Jillian Xin, womenswear buyer at Lane Crawford, tells us: “This is a trend that is unapologetically sexy, yet playful. The best accessory to pull it off? Confidence.” Indeed, cut-outs were big news on the spring/summer 2017 catwalks and they’ll be a firm player in your wardrobe. Rest assured, you can pick and choose what works for you (no need to go full-frontal … unless you want to), with our round-up of three designers showing very different ways to work the trend.

Zoë Jordan

Clean lines, boyish elegance and fresh palettes define summer’s mood at Zoë Jordan. This Brit brand – influenced by namesake designer Jordan’s love of contemporary art and textures – has made cut-outs a staple part of the label’s DNA. “Cut-outs have been a part of the collection since autumn/winter 2012 when we showed it in our catwalk collection at London Fashion Week,” Jordan explains. “It’s been a signature feature of the brand ever since and evolves each season, allowing women to show their confidence without showing off.” It’s exactly this reticence for all-singing, all-dancing dressing that makes Jordan’s main line – and the complementary Knitlab collection that’s released twice yearly – a hit with scores of women. Cut-outs at Zoë Jordan mean modern, effortless style, and come placed on the shoulder or hip, or down the length of the arm on a selection of pared-back pieces.


The French powerhouse’s spring/summer 2017 runway was awash with cut-outs. This collection is one for the devoted Olivier Rousteing tribe; it’s sexy, sassy and takes the trend full throttle. Almost bandage-like in construction, dresses that stormed the catwalk seemed to dare the brave and the bold to show off some skin and put cut-outs centre stage. Painted in a cacophony of vivid shades – think molten copper, vibrant purple and brilliant sapphire – this spring/summer line is not made for blending into the background. With garments coming sliced open at the hip, waist or décolletage (or in some cases, across all three zones at once), this is definitely the brand to know when you want a high-octane take on skin-baring evening style.


From Han Chong, cut-outs come in the form of rows of tiny buttons at the thigh and the clavicle, designed to be left open to show a hint of skin underneath. “Our Self-Portrait girl is a modern woman; she’s fun, unexpected and isn’t afraid to experiment,” says Chong. “I wanted to create pieces that were versatile for her to play with. The dresses are sophisticated but unbutton in a few areas and she’s instantly got a little bit of an edge. With the cut-outs, it was all about revealing the most flattering part of her body.” The lines of buttons trace fashion’s new erogenous zones and allow the wearer to give a subtle nod to the trend without feeling overexposed. Pieces also split at the waist, shoulders and sides, across the line of separates, jumpsuits, and, of course, the label’s instantly recognisable dresses.