Katy Guest: So sorry Sienna. Big pants are back

When it comes to knickers, your granny knows best


Something suspicious is happening in celebrities' undergarments, and for once it has nothing to do with Russell Brand. All over the world, pants have been up. Some people wonder if it is due to the sudden cold snap, but I blame Britney Spears (why fight fashion?). Too many flashes of supermum's undraped naughty bits have famous ladies in a panic. Now it is not enough just to wear knickers: one has to be seen to be wearing them, too.

It started, as these things often do, with Sienna Miller. Remember her? The on-off girlfriend of Jude Law, who recently said that she wants people to respect her for her acting and not keep banging on about "what I'm wearing or my relationship". To this end she turned up for the New York premiere of her new movie, I forget which, with barely a stitch on. To prove her acting ability, she offered an avant-garde mime of one of those dreams where you get to school and suddenly realise that you've forgotten your skirt. In thick black tights and shiny nylon knickers, she brought tears to her audience's eyes.

Where fashion leads, Katie Holmes is sure to follow, and last week she did so triumphantly. Stepping from her car at Paris Fashion Week, this elegant young mum showed Britney how it should be done. In an assured movement, Katie kept both knees together, swept aside her billowing Armani dress and revealed to the world a pair of flesh-tone, control-top pants. Somewhere in LA there is an old lady with a draughty undercarriage, because these were granny's finest. On the other hand, if you were married to Tom Cruise, you'd be wearing a reinforced gusset, too.

Underwear really became a trend, though, on the day we were treated to G-strings on ice. Duncan James, the piercing-eyed hunk from the boy band Blue, is the latest celebrity to have been wounded while rehearsing for Dancing on Ice. But while his colleagues have sustained broken ribs and grazed chins, Duncan's is a more intimate injury. "It really is demanding on the groin area," he confessed. "The jockstrap chafes like hell. It is skin-coloured and cuts right up my bottom. I don't know how women cope with thongs. This show is the hardest thing I've ever done."

Duncan's misapprehension that women "cope" with thongs is charming. If he worked in an office rather than a recording studio full of boxer-wearing boys, he would have observed the continual half-buttock shuffle that marks distracted ladies peeling and pinging their repressive undergarments. Duncan has led a very sheltered life if he thinks that thongs are as bad as it gets. He should try cramming himself into Trinny and Susannah's Magic Knickers, a medieval device that makes one resemble a tube of toothpaste that has been squeezed in the middle.

But woe betide anybody who ignores the new full-coverage fashion. Poor Daniel Radcliffe has spent months preparing for his West End role in Equus, buffing his weedy wizard's body until Hermione might say, "Oh, but Mr Potter, you look [gulp] lovely without your glasses." But what does he get for his full-frontal loveliness? Parents writing to websites to say they are "very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes". The ingratitude.

Only one woman is brave enough to reject the gratuitous knicker scene, and she is being sued for it. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has pulled out of concerts with the Aussie rocker John Farnham, for fear that people might throw pants on stage. It would be "absolutely horrendous", she said. Too right: there is only one situation in which an audience should be permitted to pelt a lady with underwear while she is performing. That's if she is Britney Spears.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas