While New York fashion week may leave many of us fashion civilians scratching our heads, this year Korean designer Kaimin has taken it all a step further with the introduction of the vagina wig on her post-apocalyptic punk models.
Meant to express body positivity and sexuality by representing the “diversity, uniqueness, and acceptance of individuality with the life-giving human vagina,” the models strutted down the runway wearing wigs of fluffy hair covering their otherwise bare lower halves. The styles ranged from full on bush to stylish mohawk and were tended by their very own design team backstage.
While the looks were meant to be shocking and certainly garnered a lot of media attention, vagina wigs are certainly nothing new and date back as far as the 1400s when their use was much less glamorous. They even have a name: the merkin.
The merkin’s less than fashionable history dates back to at least 1450 when women would wear them to cover their public area that had been shaved to combat pubic lice. They were also used by prostitutes to cover signs of STDs like syphilis
In more recent times, merkins often make appearances on movie sets, to shield actors from full frontal nudity, or to add pubic hair where an actor has none, or too little. Ironically, our modern obsession with removing pubic hair means that actors need to wear merkins for period pieces set in the non-waxing past.
So, there you have it. Next time you’re confronted with a full and glorious bush, you will have to wonder “is she born with it? Or is it a merkin?”