7 of the most iconic naked dresses

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

Categories: Beauty | Celebrities | Design and Architecture | Fashion | People | World

From Marilyn and Cher to Rihanna, these are the landmark looks in barely-there dressing.

8 PHOTOS

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

1. Today, it seems, you can’t even take a cursory scroll through Instagram without casting your eyes upon a naked dress. You might see a few hundred meters of illusion mesh, a thousand or so strategically placed crystals, and, very likely, a hipbone or two. Think Emily Ratajkowski in the floor-length mesh. Julia Fox is a Valerievi Bond girl. Rita Ora in diaphanous Nensi Dojaka. Chloe Sevigny in Mugler. Even Taylor Swift, draped in diamanté chains at the VMAs. It’s the naked dress world, we’re just living in it.

Despite the look’s recent ubiquity, the naked dress has been around for a long time. We can chart its modern history back to the 50s when French-American costumier Jean Louis developed his signature illusion dress, which made stars like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe appear as though they were wearing sequins on bare skin. The look became a favorite of disco designer Bob Mackie and his muse Cher. Jane Birkin and Kate Moss made the look an ‘it’ girl staple and, today, it’s become the go-to for anyone and everyone looking to turn heads on the red carpet or rack up likes on Instagram. Countless naked dresses have graced — and will continue to grace — the annals of fashion; only a few, however, have had the power to truly shift the zeitgeist, to still elicit a frisson decades after the fact. Here, we look back at some of the most iconic naked dresses of all time.

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

2. Marilyn Monroe at JFK’s 45th birthday party, 1962

On May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe took to the stage at Madison Square Garden to deliver the most famous birthday ballad of all time. The occasion was, of course, the birthday of President John F. Kennedy. And, naturally, the iconic occasion called for what would become one of the most iconic dresses of all time. Taking to the podium at MSG, Marilyn dropped her ermine stole to the floor to reveal a sheer, skin-tight gown covered — where it mattered most — in 2500 rhinestones. The famous dress was designed by French-American costumier Jean Louis, one of his signature “illusion” dresses, feats of Hollywood magic that made Hollywood starlets like Marilyn or Marlene Dietrich appear as though they were wearing nothing but a smattering of crystals. Of course, Kim Kardashian would go on to wear the iconic garment to the Met Gala decades later.

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

3. Jane Birkin at the Slogan premiere, 1969

This photo of Jane Birkin, carrying her signature wicker basket and clad in a sheer, clingy knit,  has become the image of nonchalant French girl chic. The photograph and the look have become so iconic that it’s almost impossible to believe that the dress pictured wasn’t even intended to be a naked dress, at all. The look was actually accidental: Jane showed up to the premiere of her 1969 rom-com Slogan in what she thought was an opaque outfit; it only turned into a naked dress under the flash of the paparazzi. Over 50 years later, Jane’s response to the incident speaks to the kind of insouciance she’s known for: “I didn’t realize [the dress] was so transparent. If I had known, I would not [have] put knickers!”

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

4. Cher at the Met Gala, 1974

In 1974, Cher stepped out onto the Met Gala red carpet wearing this stunning crystalline confection by Bob Mackie. The American designer became one of Cher’s most frequent collaborators, dressing Cher in a number of memorable naked dresses including Mackie’s signature “flame” dress and the crystal sarong in which she scooped her first Oscar.

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

5. Kate Moss at an Elite Models party, 1993

In 1993, supermodel Kate Moss brought the naked dress into the 90s with — what else? — the slip dress. This silver bias gown, worn to an Elite Model Management party, was designed by New York designer Liza Bruce. Allegedly, Kate borrowed the dress from a stylist's pull that had been meant to be returned the day after the party. Like Jane’s iconic dress, Kate’s slip was also a “naked” accident. To Vogue, she recounts, “It was the first time I really got papped. I had no idea why everyone was so excited — in the darkness of Corinne [Day]’s Soho flat, the dress was not see-through!”

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

6. Sarah Jessica Parker at the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, 1997

This is it: the look that gave ‘the naked dress’ a name. In the sixth episode of Sex and the City, protagonist Carrie Bradshaw steps into the kitchen of her West Village apartment wearing a slinky, beige DKNY dress. Her tribunal of friends judges the date-night look. Of course, Samantha thinks it’s “fabulous.” Miranda calls it, “tits on toast.” And a shocked Charlotte: “The naked dress.” The fictional Carrie’s credited for naming the style, however, actress Sarah Jessica Parker actually wore it nearly a year before the iconic episode hit the airwaves. While shooting SATC’s debut season, SJP (presumably) borrowed the DKNY dress from the show’s wardrobe department to wear to the 1997 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards. A sneak peek of not only Carrie’s zeitgeist-defining style but of a naked dress that would irrevocably alter the fashion lexicon.

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

7. Rose McGowan at the VMAs, 1998

Two decades before the #MeToo movement, Rose McGowan attended the VMAs in a barely-there beaded dress that, the actress recounts, was a personal political statement, “a reclamation of [her] body after [her assault].” She told Jameela Jamil in 2019, “It was my first public appearance after being raped. And I thought, it was kind of like Russell Crowe and Gladiator when it comes out in the ring and he’s like, ‘Are you not entertained?’”

7 of the most iconic naked dresses

8. Rihanna at the CFDA Awards, 2014

Rihanna pulled up to the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards in what would become one of the most iconic naked dresses of the 21st century. In a modern homage to Marilyn’s Jean Louis, Rihanna took to the event’s red carpet (and the stage, to accept the Style Icon Award) wearing a mesh Adam Selman dress and matching durag, embellished with 200,000 Swarovski crystals. It was the dress that launched a thousand naked dresses, reigniting the zeitgeist's interest in the shocking style for a new generation of fashion’s ‘it’ girls.

Keywords: Marilyn Monroe | Cher | Rihanna | Dressing | Interesting dresses | Naked dresses | Iconic dresses | Iconic naked dresses | Celebrities

Post News Article

Recent articles

20 life hacks from a century ago
20 life hacks from a century ago

In the late 1880s, cigarette manufacturers began inserting hard cards into paper packages to make them more durable and convenient. ...

Manifestation care about, or Why you should not wait for latecomers
Manifestation care about, or Why you should not wait for ...

Everyone knows people who are always late. They are struggling to stay fashionable use different time management methods and ...

The psychologist explained what the most common sexual fantasies mean
The psychologist explained what the most common sexual ...

Every person, regardless of gender and marital status, has sexual fantasies. Most often, we cannot explain where they came from and ...

Related articles

Marilyn Monroe turned out great in these pictures... only she wasn't there
Marilyn Monroe turned out great in these pictures... only she ...

Marilyn Monroe is often imitated, but they have never been able to replace her. These photos went around the Internet as pictures ...

11 photos of charming Marilyn Monroe by photographer Sam Shaw
11 photos of charming Marilyn Monroe by photographer Sam Shaw

In July 1957, a close friend of Marilyn Monroe, photographer Sam Shaw, arranged a photo shoot for the actress on the beach in ...

Looked like mom Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana and other style icons of the XX century
Looked like mom Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana and other ...

Watch a selection of rare archival footage of the XX century stars posing with their moms. Looked like her Marilyn Monroe, ...