Society

Farewell G-String, Hello Wawrinka Shorts

Fashion tides are always changing, and as the weather warms, comfort is in for both ladies and gentlemen.

The loud and lucky Wawrinka shorts
The loud and lucky Wawrinka shorts
Marie-Claude Martin

GENEVA â€" Since 2005, we've heard over and over that the G-string is dead. To the delight of women everywhere, it finally seems to be true. Meanwhile, the Wawrinka short â€" regarded as an inappropriate oddity at the beginning of the French Open â€" has since graduated to cult status.

First, speaking for the ladies: Away with you, loop of floss. We now prefer the booty short, shapewear, thicker thongs that offer more coverage, granny panties in organic cotton (perfect for running errands by bike), or even the kinds of girdles seen on Mad Men or on burlesque dancer Dita von Teese. The agony of the G-string was long. Fashionistas have been predicting its demise every year since 2005.

But this time there's proof: Sales are plummeting, lingerie shops are ridiculing them, and women's magazines no longer want to use them in their photos. Sophie Marceau, the French actress known for her repeated red-carpet wardrobe malfunctions, wasn't wearing one when we last saw (too much of) her at Cannes.

Cécile Guérin, who organizes the International Salon of Lingerie each year in Paris, confirms the fashion diagnosis. "The G-string is still seen as a sexy item, appreciated by a slight majority of men, but it is neither practical nor comfortable. Worse, it is no longer in fashion."

Born in the 1970s and broadly adopted in the "90s, the G-string managed to thrive for 40 years. Perhaps it will take just as long before it comes back to our wardrobes â€" when our shame is displaced by wistful memory and we catch the bug again.

Coverage for men

The intense scrutiny of women's fashion isn't so different from the judgment that initially targeted Stanislas Wawrinka for his "3-in-1" shorts at the French Open. How could he wear such a thing in the storied Roland Garros stadium? Twitter lit up, apparently even more scandalized by the shorts than by his single-pawed backhand. The fashion police deemed them hideous. But that was short-lived.

The winds began to blow in Wawrinka's favor after his semi-final win against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Mockery was replaced by a kind of fascination. What if these unsightly shorts were blessed with some supernatural power? What if their busy watermelon-checkered print was creating a hallucinatory effect? A joke began to circulate on Twitter that the shorts were designed by an African shaman and were sure to drive one's enemies mad.

It seems Wawrinka followed the maxim of Jean Cocteau to the letter â€" "That for which you are reproached, cultivate it. It is you." Not only did he defend his wardrobe choice, saying that he "quite liked them," but he also helped elevate them to fetish status by placing them inside the trophy at one point. Then in a press conference, he credited the shorts as aiding his victory.

The manufacturers couldn't have asked for more. Almost overnight, the critics who had labeled Wawrinka a dork and a bumpkin became the dorks themselves. Wawrinka seemed to understand all too well the conformity of the human spirit: When an object is ugly, make it famous. It will become pretty.

The shorts are now all the rage, with Twitter, er, atwitter with commentary about the now-sacred artifact. Would the print become the new Swiss flag? Others, recalling the viral Dressgate phenomenon, began joking that the shorts were actually black.

Now that the tournament is over, it's clear that these pajama-boxers-shorts are adorable. The fabric is cool and hides stains, and they have a childish charm. From the beginning, the public was mistaken: It wasn't the shorts that were the problem. It was the accompanying shirt.

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Spencer Tunick Nude Installation in Israel

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Salam!*

Welcome to Monday, where the UK pays homage to slain MP David Amess, Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, and Facebook gets ready to build its "metaverse." Please fasten your seatbelts: Worldcrunch also takes stock of the long-lasting effects — good and bad — the pandemic has had on the air travel industry.

[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Myanmar to free political prisoners: Myanmar's junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has announced the release of 5,636 prisoners who had been jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government in February 2021.

• Powerful Haiti gang behind the kidnapping of U.S. missionaries: The notorious 400 Mawozo gang is believed to be behind the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of Christian missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. The brazen kidnapping on Saturday comes as crime is spiking since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.

• UK to pay tribute to David Amess: British lawmakers will pay homage in parliament to colleague David Amess, who was stabbed to death Friday in what was described by the police as a "terrorist incident." Officers arrested a 25-year-old suspect whose father, Harbi Ali Kullane, worked as a media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia.

• COVID update: Russia has registered more than 34,000 cases of new infections in the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste used water cannons to clear striking dockworkers protesting Italy's new requirements that all employees be vaccinated.

• At least 26 killed in floods in India: Torrential rain has triggered floods and landslides in India's southern coastal state of Kerala, killing at least 26 people.

• Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to develop "metaverse": The U.S. social media giant plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to build a "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the company touts as the future.

Punishing parents for children's bad behavior: After limiting gaming hours for minors, China is now considering legislation to reprimand parents if their children exhibit "very bad behavior" or commit crimes.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Colombian daily El Espectador dedicates its front page to Alex Saab, "owner of the secrets" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Colombian businessman, wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, has been extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. where he is scheduled to appear in court today.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

4.9%

China's economy registered its slowest pace in a year as the country faces a looming energy crisis with power shortages and increasing pressure on its property sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period between July-September rose 4.9%, the weakest numbers since the third quarter of 2020 and significantly lower than forecasts. The world's second-largest economy faces a debt crisis linked to the China Evergrande Group debt crisis, while energy shortfalls have dropped factory output to its weakest since early 2020, when heavy COVID-19 curbs were in place.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

7 ways the pandemic may change the airline industry for good

Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.

⛽ Cleaner aviation fuel: With air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel. In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials

.🛃 Smoother check-in: The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.

✈️ The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less? At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel, in particular, is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.


➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"The crimes committed that night are unforgivable for the Republic."

— Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to commemorate the killing of as many as 200 Algerian independence protesters by Parisian police in 1961. For 40 years, French officials ignored the massacre, which took place a year before Algeria gained its independence from France after an eight-year war. In 2012, French President François Hollande acknowledged the killings for the first time on a visit to Algeria, and Macron took it further by attending Sunday's commemoration at the site where the events happened in the French capital. Still, many had hoped the French President would go further and take responsibility for a "state massacre," for a crime many historians consider the most violent repression of a peaceful demonstration in post-War Europe.

📈💥  IN OTHER NEWS

​Low trust, high risk: The global rise of violence targeting politicians

The deadly stabbing of British Parliament Member David Amess confirms an ongoing study on trust and governance in democracies around the world: It's bad. In The Conversation, James Weinberg — the study's author and a lecturer in Political Behavior at the University of Sheffield — writes:

⏪ The assassination of Amess, who was stabbed to death in his constituency on Friday, is a tragic moment for democracy. What makes it even more devastating is that such a catastrophic failure is not without precedent or predictability. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot at her constituency surgery in 2016. Before her, another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, survived a stabbing in 2010. And Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councilor, died in a frenzied attack in 2001 while trying to protect local Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.

☝️ Beyond these critical junctures in the public debate about politicians' safety, elected representatives must live with an increasingly insidious level of popular cynicism that threatens violence on an almost daily basis.

🇬🇧🇳🇿🇿🇦 Not only are these experiences of abuse or threats of physical violence felt across both sides of the political aisle in the UK — they also appear to be growing more common in other democratic contexts where the climate of politics has been presumed to be both calmer and more volatile, from New Zealand to South Africa.


Read the full piece from The Conversation, now on Worldcrunch.com

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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