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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 06/ 3/2010

Fashion Statement: Hanging out with Christina Ricci

By Liz Kelly


Context is everything, so we should probably note that Christina Ricci wore the dress at right to an event honoring performance artist Marina Abramovic's MOMA exhibit, in which the artist spent the past several days -- possibly catheterized -- sitting stock still in a chair while her naked underlings elsewhere in the museum did their best to shock and awe titillated visitors.

But back to Ricci. The frock is Givenchy and may have been absolutely stunning on a gazelle-like, willowy runway model. But from the rigid black half moon (described by some Internet commenters as a pirate's hat that seems to have slipped down over her torso) at her shoulders to the waistline -- which gives the impression of a beer gut -- to the mismatched floofy skirt to the stray piece of fabric trailing behind her, nothing about this look works for the diminutive Ricci.

But forget that laundry list of failings. The story here is not so much the dress as what is under it. One's eyes are drawn to what is unmistakably peeking out through the lace encasing Ricci's torso: under cleavage.

Under wha...?

Britain's Daily Mail helpfully explains:

For those not in the know, that's her 'underboob', 'neathage' or can even be referred to as 'Australian cleavage'.

Under-cleavage is hardly a new phenomenon. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were cited as inaugurating the trend as long ago as 2003. Said one stylist at the time:

"The new cleavage is the under-cleavage," said Jeanne Yang, a celebrity stylist with Cloutier Agency in Santa Monica, Calif. "In many ways, it's more provocative than regular cleavage. There's an element that suggests that you might get to see more."

Okay. I must have missed this look catching on with the masses over the last seven years, unless Hooters waitresses count as average middle American consumers. But will Ricci's latest look kick off an under-cleavage revolution? You tell us.

By Liz Kelly  | June 3, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Fashion  | Tags:  Christina Ricci, Fashion, Fashion Statement  
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Oh, dear. If your hat fits over your shoulders, it's too big.

Posted by: northgs | June 3, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Looks like a Lady Gaga castoff.

Posted by: Roxie1 | June 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"As a man, can I just say, 'Thank you, Givenchy'"? Straight men aren't the only ones who appreciate revealing dresses on beautiful women. All are your readers hetero, Liz and Jen?

Posted by: ajwagner | June 3, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

And this outfit was tame for the event. Someone wore only grey bodypaint. Someone wore a see-through bra. That's a bit more titillating than underboob.

Posted by: mdem929 | June 3, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Another day, another star, another DUI: Dressing Under the Influence.
what drab is left for us mundane office workers? the overboob? Ah! Friday Casual... can't wait!

Posted by: ileschinder | June 3, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I wish you'd had the category "she's taking a risk but it didn't work for her." The fact that she was attending an avant garde art event entitles her to considerable leeway taste-wise, but unfortunately this misfired, at least insofar as the photo is concerned (maybe it was slightly better in person?).

Anyone else think that Christina and figure skater Sacha Cohen look like they were separated at birth?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 3, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

mdem929, grey body paint would ahve been a much better look on Ms. Ricci. This is all kinds of wrong.

Posted by: northgs | June 3, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Liz, don't reject the underboob look out of hand. It might be a good alternative for ease of nursing junior.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | June 3, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Can we get a comparative study of both the underboob and the sideboob? You know so we can get a sense of their own respective appeals.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | June 3, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

As a man, just let me say that we will decide what is more provocative, not some stylist. Don't like the look, but do have some affection for the term "Australian Cleavage." ALtho I am thinking it could apply to more that the bottom of boobs. All depends on how far down you want to go.

Posted by: reddragon1 | June 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Love Xtina R., hate the dress, love the phrase "Australian cleavage."

2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Posted by: byoolin1 | June 3, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Neathage -- LOL!!!

I, for one, was pleased to see the poof-belly, as I have always thought Christina Ricci looked SO much better before she stopped eating.

The upside-down hat around her chest is weird.

Posted by: Californian11 | June 3, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Liz, if you're going to quote the Go Fug Yourself girls, just do it already and link to the post.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 3, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Good outfits enhance the body. They draw the eye to your good assets and distract from the ones that are not your best. Why would anyone want to draw the eye to the bottom of their breasts? It just makes everything look saggy. It's not about how much you expose, it's about how you expose what you expose.

Posted by: mdreader01 | June 3, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Good clothing draws the eye in ways that enhance your best features and downplay your worst. When you draw the eye to the bottom of the bust, it just gives the impression that they are sagging. Why would you want an outfit that makes you look like you're sagging?

Posted by: mdreader01 | June 3, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, there you go. Shows you what I know about trying to submit comments when the system is hicupping.

Posted by: mdreader01 | June 3, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

mdreader, but on the plus side, it does tend to draw attention away from her gigantic forehead.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | June 3, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Marina Abramovic spent the past "several days" performing? Try 700 hours. And her "naked underlings"? They were actors selected especially for this groundbreaking retrospective. Who writes this? An actual Washington Post journalist? Amazing. If you're not going to bother to make substantial, factual statements about the art, just stick to talking about the dress.

Posted by: nonsenseword7 | June 3, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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