'Pelvage' is the new cleavage - just ask our local celebs

Fashionista Ricci-Lee Kalish weighs in on the trend to flaunt your ilium

26 November 2020 - 10:21 By Ricci-Lee Kalish
Rapper Nadia Nakai was one of several celebs who flashed their illiums at the SA Style Awards in Sandton, Johannesburg, on November 22 2020.
Rapper Nadia Nakai was one of several celebs who flashed their illiums at the SA Style Awards in Sandton, Johannesburg, on November 22 2020.
Image: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

In fashion, you’re always on the lookout. On the lookout for new ideas, new colours and even new appendages to show off.

While flashing a little leg or décolletage has long been the go-to for adding extra oomph to an outfit, we’ve invented many other trends to highlight our best bits over the years.

From side-boobs to under-butts, the body is a playground when it comes to fashion, and we’ve once again found a “new” part of it worthy of having a moment in the limelight: the ilium.

The ilium is the largest and uppermost part of the hip bone, forming part of the pelvis. From here on, it shall be known as fashion’s latest provocateur.

What exactly is its allure? Perhaps it’s that the hip area has always been one that tends to get covered, not only in garments but undergarments too.

Regardless, “pelvage” has become the new cleavage, so to speak — just ask some of the celebs who recently attended the SA Style Awards.

They include rapper Nadia Nakai, who showed off her ilium in a white evening gown with a huge shoulder-to-toe slit — a look that earned her a spot on our best-dressed list.

An extreme slit was also the way former Miss SA Claudia Henkel chose to flash her pelvage at the event. Note how the slit in her gown lengthens her silhouette, making her appear taller and her legs look endless.

Nadia Nakai in a gown by Gert-Johan Coetzee, one of local celebs' favourite fashion designers.
Nadia Nakai in a gown by Gert-Johan Coetzee, one of local celebs' favourite fashion designers.
Image: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape
Former Miss SA Claudia Henkel in a gown by Gert-Johan Coetzee.
Former Miss SA Claudia Henkel in a gown by Gert-Johan Coetzee.
Image: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

Of course, not every ilium-baring outfit will be a success.

Case in point? Fashion stylist to the stars, Phupho Gumede, who flaunted his ilium in a denim jumpsuit with extra-large cut-outs at the hips.

While I applaud Gumede for taking a risk, and love the sass of this outfit, it unfortunately highlights a common design flaw: drawing attention to the largest part of the body can make you appear bulkier than you really are.

That said, showing off one’s pelvage doesn’t necessarily have to entail wearing garments with huge cut-outs or slits. It can be as simple as wearing low-slung jeans and a crop top.

In fact, the ilium has long been staring us in the face, thanks to the high-cut legs of the swimsuits first made famous by Baywatch babes in the '90s, and still beloved by Instagram babes today.

Whether the pelvage trend transcends the beach and red carpet to become a part of people’s everyday wardrobes is up to the masses.

I, for one, will be keeping my ilium my best-kept secret, hidden out of sight.


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