In case you haven’t heard, the (nearly) naked dress is back, and it has been for a while - 2022 was even crowned the ‘Year of the Naked Dress’ by Vogue, so you know it’s serious.
But like all trends, it twists, turns and takes on different forms to stay relevant. A typical nearly naked dress is usually marked by the absence of a bra, presence of nipples and perhaps a skimpy pair of pants (think Kate Moss in 1993 or Rose McGowan at the 1998 VMAs). The new naked dress, though? It’s the complete reverse. Wearing our underwear on display, and this time it’s not on our bottom half (be gone, whale tail).
For a long time, the presence of a tell-tale strap or the accidental slip of a well-hidden bra cup was considered a fashion faux pas. People have gone to great lengths for years to hide them and give the appearance of wearing no bra at all. In fact, those of us on the smaller side of DD did all basically ditch bras at one point during lockdown and considered them a banished garment, no longer of any use.
Now, in 2023, things have changed. In January this year, Fendi released a couture collection full of delicate, bra-baring dresses, with models sporting otherwise strapless looks suddenly hoisted up by their bra straps (or, rather, the ‘look’ of bra straps), with the peek-a-boo layer made from lingerie staples like silk and mesh, or a delicate metal chainmail.
The peek-a-boo underlayer has also been a staple of Miu Miu’s recent collections, with a small strapless bra layer often spilling over the teeny tiny bra-tops that match their viral mini skirt.
Looks from these collections have made their way onto the red carpet, too, and a trifecta of not-so-nip-slips at Cannes certified the trend officially ‘in’.
First, there was Euphoria star and new red carpet one-to-watch Sydney Sweeney, who was photographed leaving Hotel Martinez earlier this week in an elegant, low cut Miu Miu slip dress.
The dress was made slightly less low cut, though, by the clear presence of a blue satin bra, protruding from the bust of the dress. Unlike the Fendi collection, Sweeney’s peek-a-boo bra moment was clearly an actual bra beneath a dress, which led many to question whether the look was a ‘wardrobe malfunction.’ Wrong, TikTok commenters, also do you think Hotel Martinez is entirely devoid of mirrors or something?
Next came a dress from the Fendi collection itself, worn by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to the screening of Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City. The graceful white gown featured one of Fendi’s woven chainmail peek-a-boo layers at the bust as well as a matching clasp which gathered the layers of the dress at her waist.
Then came Scarlett Johansson to the screening of the same film (a bona fide fashion megatrend incoming, clearly) in a custom Prada number which showed a white bralette layer atop her otherwise strapless powder pink satin gown. It wasn’t quite a “one of us is going to have to change” moment, but it does illustrate how quickly this look is infiltrating the red carpet when it appeared in a more casual form on Sweeney just days before.
This is also part of the point: exposed bras aren’t just a new stylish addition to wear beneath your coveted white tank, they’re suddenly red carpet ready. Now we’re used to seeing upper-half underwear at black tie events, it can take true centre stage. It’s official: get ready to take your peek-a-boo bra moment from day to night, ladies.