There are times when an outfit is worth more than a thousand words. No need to explain; just strut, pose, and let the clothes speak for you. 

Colombian singer Shakira did that when she recently attended the Viktor & Rolf fall/winter 2023 runway presentation in Paris. 

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The Colombian star chose a white double-breasted trench coat from the designer’s 2018 collection that sent a not-too-subtle message to her ex-lover of 12 years. 

The coat featured a sculptural 3-D NO trimmed with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. It had a powerful meme potential and went viral.

A not-so-subliminal message  

“Yes is overrated,” Shakira said of the sculptural outfit in an Instagram post, leaving little doubt about what (and who) she was referring to.  

Shakira and soccer star Gerard Piqué, with whom the singer has two children, announced their split last year after 12 years together. The end of their affair was messy and involved another woman, Clara Chia Marti.  

But the drama did inspire her hit song “BZRP Music Sessions #53” with Argentine DJ Bizzarap, where she sings, “Sorry Baby, hace rato que yo debi botar ese gato.” 

Keep those lyrics in mind as we proceed. 

Shakira couldn’t have chosen a more provocative Haute Couture than the imaginations of fashion duo Viktor & Rolf for her subliminal dig. 

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren created the avant-garde Dutch luxury fashion atelier Viktor & Rolf in 1993. 

They are known for challenging the notion of fashion and imbuing their creations with art and narrative — evident in their Spring 2019 couture show. 

Shakira’s choice of garment became the tea everyone was spilling at the fashion shows in the City of Light  

Sharp-eyed fans remembered seeing the coat before on Boricua singer, dancer, and entrepreneur Jennifer Lopez. 

She wore it in the video for her song “Te Boté 2” with Casper Magico, Nio Garcia, Cosculluela, and Wisin Y Yandel. 

The lyrics could easily be part of Shakira’s song with Bizarrap: “Bebé, yo te boté, yo te boté, Te di banda y te solté, yo te solté, Pa’l carajo te mandé, yo te mandé, De mi vida te boté, yo te boté.” 

“People in Español” called the matching outfits a “duelo de moda,” which translates to fashion duel.

But it probably wasn’t fashion pistols between JLo and Shakira at dawn. 

It was just the magic of Viktor & Rolf and the lyrics of “Te Bote,” the Colombian singer chose as her narrative weapons. 

Maybe it’s reading too much into it. Still, it was a brilliant move by Shakira

Fashion is a compelling way to express yourself. Women, especially in the public eye, have been sending narratives through what they wear for decades. 

Jackie Kennedy created a new image of the White House through her sartorial looks — she made it into Camelot. The late Queen Elizabeth let her brooches do the talking. 

But it was Princess Diana who gave us the gold standard of revenge fashion — her antidote to then Prince Charles confessing adultery on television.   

It was the revenge dress. A fitted (to perfection) off-the-shoulder black dress with a chiffon train that Lady Di wore to the Serpentine Gallery. 

Simply put, Shakira did a Diana with a fierce JLo twist.