History transparent dresses the sexy power of the naked dress the origins |L&P

Transparent dresses from the peek-a-boo effect, fabrics decorated with revealing cut-outs and trompe l’oeil prints that reproduce the female silhouette; in two words: naked dress Literally it means “naked dress”, the boldest oxymoron of fashion history which contains multiple meanings: one above all the claim of one’s body outside the so-called “male gaze”, the male gaze that has always seen women as mere sexual objects. In recent times this garment has been at the top of the trends, becoming a key element of the looks sported by celebrities and influencers.

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From Venus de Milo to Marilyn Monroe

It is said that the origins of the naked dress are closely related to the famous Greek statue depicting Venus de Milo: a female silhouette that stands out floridly for over two meters in height, accompanied by a penetrating and severe gaze capable of nailing the viewer to the spot. She is semi-naked, covered only from the waist down by a softly draped tunic. An image that we still find today among the countless interpretations brought to the catwalk by fashion brands, such as the models dressed in long silk skirts who appeared at Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s debut show for Ann Demeulemeester.

history transparent dresses look sexy |  Life&People MagazineBut there is a precise, unforgettable episode which definitively consecrated the see-through gown in the history of costume: on May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe took the stage of the Madison Square Graden in New York to sing with her sensual voice, at times whispered, “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to then US President John F. Kennedy. To catalyze the attention of the audience was the skin-tight skin-colored dress of the singer, studded with 2500 crystals.

history sexy transparent dresses |  Life&People MagazineAn “illusion dress”, as the costume designer Jean Louis liked to call it, precisely because it highlighted the shapes of the body giving an appearance of nudity. Following Marylin’s example, many stars after her have sported various types of naked dress without forgetting the unsuccessful attempt by Kim Kardashian wearing her own dress at the 2022 Met Gala.

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Cher’s see-through dress at the Met Gala

The Costume Institute Gala in New York has always been the apotheosis of extravagant and unconventional couture experiments. Stage of epic slips of style, the Met Gala it hosted quite a few memorable creations destined to leave a mark in the annals of fashion. Among these, the transparent dress worn in 1974 by Cher, American pop star and icon of multiple styles, from hippy to rock, deserves a special mention. The singer-songwriter showed up on the red carpet in a riot of crystals, silver sequins and white feathers that seemed sewn directly on the body, but which instead illuminated a nude and skintight base. It was a déjà-vu of the naked dress worn twelve years earlier by Marilyn Monroe: both dresses created by the stylist Bob Mackie who at the time worked in Jean Louis’s atelier.

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The naked dress today

Scrolling through the photos of the most important red carpets of the last twenty years, many others emerge iconic examples of transparent dresses: the model with Swarovski worn by Rihanna at the 2014 CFDA Awards, the metal mesh one chosen by Zoë Kravitz at the 2021 Met Gala, to get to the pink tulle dress worn by Florence Pugh at the Valentino 2022 Haute Couture fashion show.

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THEThe naked dress doesn’t just play with the transparencies of the fabrics,

but it is also revealing through dizzying cuts and illusory effect prints. Examples in this sense are the green Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 2000 Grammys and, even more recently, the “shameless dress” by Dior that Chiara Ferragni wore at Sanremo 2023. The first, characterized by plunging necklines and cut out, cleared the idea of ​​female beauty in those years identified in very thin, almost shapeless bodies.

Sanremo Festival 2023 prime time look |  Life&People Magazine

history transparent dresses look sexy |  Life&People MagazineThe second, however, is covered with a trompe l’oeil print which reproduces the physical details of the influencer with extreme precision. A sort of 2.0 evolution of the illusory dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in ’62. However, if at the time the naked dress was considered a revolutionary garment, capable of creating scandal because it was worn by a few well-known personalities, today it has become a must on every red carpet.

Sanremo Festival 2023 prime time look |  Life&People MagazineWe lose count of the celebrities spotted on the emblematic champagne carpet of the last Oscars wearing impalpable, semi-transparent fabrics characterized by peek-a-boo openings. The reason? Although the nude dress has lost part of its innate subversive character, wearing it remains synonymous with freedom and acceptance.

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