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The Independent Culture
Has ladies lingerie finally given in to penis envy? Has Freud got a fix on the fashion industry? There is an intruder at Fenwicks women's underwear department. Nestling among the shimmery frills and lace is a pair of men's Y- fronts. Intended to be worn by women. The product of Italian haute couture giants, Dolce & Gabbana, skimpy they are not.

Made of generously cut thick ribbed cotton and sold only in a charcoal Orwellian grey, there is no concession to frivolity. Unless you count the huge elasticised waist band emblazoned with the designers' names. However, the aggressive branding is of less interest than the pocket at the front. Remember these are men's Y-fronts. This is no cosmetic pocket, no fashion fillip. The extra flap of material is not a detail, it is a fact.

Rather than remaining just a novelty item, the unequivocably masculine pants are taking off in a big way (so to speak). They attract both the pink pound (affordable to high flying lesbians without a family to support) and the anorexic ecu (aspiring supermodels). Now that Cindy Crawford can make out with k d Lang on the cover of Vanity Fair, the line between the two is increasingly blurred. It is the models who are creating the trend. They are snapped sashaying up the runway with the buttons of their jeans undone to reveal a pair of Y- fronts. Then the girls in the clubs take it up, and sooner or later it filters down to the high street. The models started the Gossard wonderbra trend when curves were the requisite trend. And now that the skinny waif look is in, they champion androgynous underwear.

These pants are huge, grey and sexy. And, at pounds 39.95, there is a practical purpose for the flap at the front. It's to hold your credit card.

Emma Forrest

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