Monday, October 29, 2012

PSA: Rise of the Merkins

I am here today to talk about what I’m afraid is becoming an increasingly real threat to the fashion world.  I am here to talk about the rise of the merkins.

What, you ask, is a merkin?

This is a merkin:

Image via

Still not sure what you’re looking at?  Well, it’s a wig for your nethers.  

And why would one need a nethers wig?  

Historically, it was worn by women who had shaved down there to combat lice, because Brazillians weren’t in style then and it was cold.  Merkins were also used by prostitutes to disguise the presence of a disease like syphilis.  Back in the day, prostitutes used to attract johns by flashing their lady parts at passersby.  Of course, they didn’t want those potential johns knowing they were diseased, so they put on their merkins and, et voila, Sally Streetwalker no longer looks like her lady bits are starring in The Walking Dead.

But, Gracey, all of that was so long ago, why are you bringing it up now?  

You’re right, merkins were used back in the 15thcentury, but they are actually still used today; albeit for a different purpose.  Nowadays, merkins are used mostly by actors and actresses who adhere to today’s no-hair-anywhere grooming standards and need some hair for a period piece.  But, that is not the threat I’m speaking of.

No, I’m talking about the rise of merkin-looking bits attached to so-called high-fashion garments.

For example, designer Stephane Rolland sent this down the runway earlier this year:

Image via Pinterest

I don’t know about you, but to me, that looks like nothing so much as a fancy, two-tone merkin attached to a dress.  With a chest merkin added for good measure.

And, then, during last week’s Project Runway All-Stars, Wendy Pepper created this:

Image via Lifetime

Image via Lifetime

Yes, you are looking at a little black dress embellished with a little lace merkin.

Marchesa also loves the addition of a lace merkin to a gown:

Image via

Although, in their defense, I guess this could be considered a lady-bit-mustache instead of a merkin, but, is that really better?

For S/S 2013 Marchesa continued their merkin additions to their gowns.  This time around they tried a little can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees misdirection, but I think we all know what we’re looking at here:

Image via

Yep, a dress covered in Santa-merkins.

Now, if you, my Dear Reader Friends, are as appalled by this merkin-wear as I am, I beg you, be vigilant.  Don’t buy skirts, dresses, or God forbid, pants with bits of fluff, lace or fringe attached to the pelvis.  Designers will continue to send their merkin-wear down the runway, and if there is anything I learned from The Devil Wear Prada (aside from Chanel = multiple necklaces), it’s that what starts in high-fashion, inevitably ends up on the streets.  So, when you see merkin-embellished clothes creeping into the next H&M collaboration, be strong and resist.  I mean, really, do you want to look like you and your lady bits are hiding something?


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