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Viral fashion moments, A-lister style and totally sheer dresses, the message is clear: it’s time to get naked.


“Well let’s just say it, it’s the naked dress!” said Charlotte to Carrie on Sex and the City back in ‘96. And with that, fashion history was made. Was this the first time a naked dress was worn? Of course not. Marilyn Monroe wore her iconic Happy Birthday Mr. President dress long before Sarah Jessica Parker donned that tiny skin-coloured slip. But this was the first time the trend had a name.

Since then, the fashion hall of fame has been filled with moments where celebrities have made maximum impact in minimal clothing. Some key reference points for your books: Kate Moss’s silvery slip dress in 1993, Rose McGowan at the 1998 VMA’s, Rihanna’s fishnet Swarovski gown worn in 2014, Emily Ratajkowski’s 2018 Met Gala look, and anything Julia Fox has worn recently.

From the red-carpet to the runway, the fashion world can’t keep its clothes on. Whether it’s second skin designs by Mugler and LaQuan Smith, exposed underwear at Miu Miu, skin-flashing designs by Prada or next to nothing slip dresses at Saint Laurent, the message is clear: it’s time to get naked.

In 2022, there’s a whole host of designers expertly crafting barely-there styles that empower the female form. LaQuan Smith is one. An architect of bold, sexy designs, Smith has been making serious waves in the industry. Having dressed all your favourite A-listers (think Rihanna, Beyoncé and Julia Fox) through his designs, Smith is calling for women to reclaim their bodies. Speaking to FLANNELS, he said: “Women need to feel proud in their skin” and that he wants women who wear his designs to feel “bold and fearless”. Over at Mugler, it’s a similar story. Creative director Casey Cadwallader is firm on his vison when it comes to the brand, and championing bodies of all shapes and sizes is a big part of his mission and, incidentally, the brand’s success. Talking about his designs, Cadwallader said they “make them [women] feel fierce, it makes them feel excited and it makes them know that their curves are beautiful”.

Meanwhile, Marco Capaldo of 16Arlington has been engineering his own take on the trend. Capaldo is part of a new wave of London based designers who are redefining partywear – suffice to say, his approach is flawless. His take on the trend comes in the form of the ethereal Solaria dress, a slightly less daring, but equally impactful version of the naked dress. Skin-tight with a key-hole cut out to the chest and sequins that give a wet-look affect, the dress has been spotted on the likes of Hailey Bieber and Paloma Elsesser. Talking about the gown, Capaldo said “there’s an effortlessness to it that really speaks to the heart of what we do; glamour doesn’t need to be a hard-earned endeavour – it can be as simple as a well-cut dress that you can slip into on any occasion without having to think twice”. Now that’s something we can get behind.

Another architect of the naked dressing trend is – unsurprisingly – Miuccia Prada. When a viral fashion moment is making the rounds, it’s likely Mrs Prada has had something to do with it. And the woman behind Lyst’s brand of the year has had a huge influence on the naked dressing trend. From Miu Miu’s flesh-baring mini skirt that’s slashed at the thigh to the sheer dresses seen on their FW23 runway, Mrs Prada’s recent looks come with a clear message – take, it, off. Scandalous!

The verdict is in – and naked is the new frontier. But one of our favourite things about the trend? It’s surprisingly universal. The Y2K revival has spurred on skin-flashing low-rise styles and exposed underwear, while the night-luxe look has seen a rise in sheer, glittering gowns that cling to the skin. At the aforementioned LaQuan Smith and Mugler, we’re seeing form-fitting garments with strategic cut-outs, while brands like Khaite and Saint Laurent are showing chic but simple slip dresses that are giving the fashion crowd a big pair of bedroom eyes. The trend has even begun to infiltrate the accessories world, with naked shoes at Tom Ford and Christian Louboutin. Basically, there’s no limit to the ways you can take your clothes off.

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Whether you like things raw and undone like Kate Moss; precise and polished like Kendall Jenner or overtly sexy like Emily Ratajkowski, there are so many ways that you can work the trend. In 2022, you can get naked however you like.

The naked dressing trend is a lot of things – sexy, shocking, and supremely chic. But behind the aesthetics, naked dressing is a sign of a shift within the industry. Sure, sex sells. But this is more than that. In stripping things down to the bare necessities, the naked dress is building a platform for women to empower themselves.

Emily Ratajkowski is one such woman. Currently in her self-proclaimed “b***h era”, Ratajkowski has been taking steps to take control of her narrative. One of these moves was donning an ultra-naked ‘90s fishnet dress where her thong had major main character energy, where everyone’s favourite model meets author meets podcast host partied the night away with the It girl we all deserve, Ziwe.

Another celebrity whose naked dress made a clear statement? Florence Pugh. Pugh – who wore a stunning sheer Valentino gown in Pink PP tulle during the summer, was (disappointingly but not surprisingly) addressed with trolling and body shaming from all corners of the internet. Speaking out on Instagram, she said: “Listen, I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it… What’s been interesting to watch and witness is just how easy it is for men to totally destroy a woman’s body, publicly, proudly, for everyone to see”. Pugh went on to leave the trolls with a clear message: “Grow up. Respect people. Respect people. Respect bodies. Respect all women. Respect humans.”

A recent admission into the naked dress hall of fame? Pamela Anderson. The ‘90s icon sat front row at the Jacquemus SS23 runway show, donning a sheer, white silk dress, cut with clever wrap detailing, a high neck and OTT feather embellishment. And that’s not to mention the huge hat and one sheer glove she wore with this dress. The appearance came just as news hit that Pamela, A Love Story, an intimate documentary where Anderson will tell her own story, in her own words, will hit Netflix next year. The film will try to explore the intricacies of a woman’s life that has been lived in the spotlight and give Anderson herself the space to tell her truth. The fact that she chose to don a naked dress as she takes her narrative into her own hands, is a power move if we ever saw one.

Also at the forefront of the trend is some of fashion’s hottest faces. Case in point, Ava Clare in a stunning floor length sheer gown with glitter detailing and exposed underwear by 16Arlington and Paloma Elsesser who appeared on the cover of iD earlier in the year in Miu Miu. This trend is being championed by models of all shapes and sizes, proving that the naked dress can – and will – be worn by any, and every, body type.

The naked dress is a celebration of women’s bodies in all their glory. After all, why wouldn’t we want to put every inch of ourselves on display? Fashion is at its best when women are wearing whatever they want. And if that happens to be next to nothing, so be it.




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