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Thank god women weren't objectified by men at the Oscars.

Hmmm, if men didn't do it err who might have? The actresses themselves? No, that's very very wrong. Wrong of me to say. Wrong of me to hint at. Bad Snitz. Nothing to see, I repeat, no objectification.

GO GIRL you look fabulous. Go naked...looooove it! In fact, just to prove my admiration, I won't look your way for more than a second or two. Else I might appear to be leering.

On Oscars Carpet, the ‘Naked Dress’ Ruled

The super-bare style favored by stars from Lady Gaga to Rihanna and Ashley Graham continued its dominance at Sunday’s Academy Awards and its anything-goes parties

Rihanna and red carpet host Ashley Graham in complementary revealing looks on Oscar night.

By Rory Satran, WSJ

Updated March 13, 2023 1:29 pm ET

“Nothing is more beautiful than a naked body,” said the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, one of the first couturiers to reveal the body with his fully sheer chiffon gowns in 1966.

Today’s Naked Dress trend, in full effect at the Oscars and its various celebrations Sunday, is in line with Saint Laurent’s prescient vision of glamorous nudity. On the Academy Awards’s red carpet, the Naked Dress continued its proud, chilly parade with looks such as Eva Longoria’s Zuhair Murad white lace gown and Ashley Graham’s fully sheer black tulle dress with cutouts. Rihanna’s custom Alaïa leather dress worn over a sheer jersey bodysuit was a provocative pregnancy twist on the look. And in a see-through black Versace gown fresh off the fall runway, Lady Gaga showed off her bare backside.

Eva Longoria in a plunging gown on the Oscars red carpet; Ana de Armas attending an event for nominees in a sheer frock.

The Vanity Fair Oscars party was a hotspot for Naked Hollywood. At the event in Beverly Hills, Olivia Wilde wore a white Gabriela Hearst column cut away to reveal a leather bra. Daisy Edgar-Jones appeared in a crystal-clear mesh Gucci gown from the fall collection. Hunter Schafer and model Vittoria Ceretti both wore uncovered looks from Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s debut collection for Ann Demeulemeester—a barely-there bra top and a filmy black gown, respectively.

Daisy Edgar-Jones in Gucci at the Vanity Fair Oscars party.

The Naked Dress, as it has come to be called, may be the red-carpet phenomenon of the past year, but it has roots in fashion going back decades, from Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” nude gown (reworn to last year’s Met Gala by Kim Kardashian, and echoed in Ana de Armas’s nude Oscar looks this season) to Kate Moss’s 1993 accidentally transparent slip dress. To qualify, a dress made of lace, tulle, or other translucent material should show off as much of the body as it covers up.

Many Naked Dresses in vogue today, including ones from high-end designers like Valentino and Chanel, have modest elements—long sleeves, ankle-length hems, high necks—that counteract the gown’s eye-popping transparency. At January’s Critic’s Choice Awards, Anya Taylor-Joy wore a dainty Dior gown that juxtaposed visible panties with a classic full-skirted silhouette.

In a postpandemic fashion climate that veers toward exhibitionism, with trends such as sheer pants, bra tops and bellybutton cutouts running rampant, the Naked Dress is the Ur-example of body-forward fashion. For actors looking to make a statement, get tongues wagging, or simply show off their Pilates-toned bodies, the Naked Dress is a shortcut to the “best looks” slideshows of websites.

“There’s definitely a sense of freedom that comes with being naked, and after Covid there was a craving for that,” said Australian designer Christopher Esber, whose body-baring looks have been worn by Margot Robbie and Zendaya. At an Oscar party last year, model Adwoa Aboah wore a very naked Esber gown to sit on Larry David’s surprised lap. Although Mr. Esber has been exploring this kind of look for a decade, he said demand for it has catapulted in recent years due to a “cultural shift to embrace body positivity.”

For designers and Hollywood actors and stylists, the look continues to prove irresistible. At the fall fashion collections, recently unveiled in New York, London, Paris and Milan, Naked Dresses graced the runways, often featured as a first look out (which is, along with the last, historically the most photographed and scrutinized outfit of a collection). Even more traditionally covered-up designers like Jason Wu and Bottega Veneta featured their own spins on the Naked Dress.

Celebrities taking in the shows in recent weeks kept paparazzi bulbs flashing with their iterations, like Ciara’s covered-up version at Dundas in Paris. Jemima Kirke, who wore a nude Acne dress as well as a sheer black Givenchy gown to fashion week events in Paris. Of the latter, she wrote on Instagram, “My kids said I looked stupid and that I’m an embarrassment.”

Offspring approval notwithstanding, advocates of the sheer gown consider it to be an empowering statement. Florence Pugh, who’s become something of a figurehead for the trend, has worn a succession of Valentino looks in the past year that strategically push boundaries, starting with a hot-pink sheer tulle gown to the brand’s July 2022 couture show and culminating in a nearly invisible skirt at this month’s Paris show. After internet trolls attacked her over the pink dress, she used it as an opportunity to clap back at them on her Instagram—and to double down by continuing to wear sheer gowns, tops and skirts whenever possible.

Actresses Anne Hathaway and Anya Taylor-Joy have both chosen naked dresses for red carpet appearances this year.

Stylist Erin Walsh, who recently put Anne Hathaway in a sheer lace Valentino couture column for an appearance at the Berlinale, mused, “I think a lot of times people confuse clothing that is revealing to somehow be demeaning to women, when actually, if you take the reins in a way that really suits you and how you want to feel, it is really more about empowering yourself and stepping into your femininity.”

That was certainly the experience of Jenné Lombardo, chief brand officer of marketing consultancy The Terminal Presents and a mother of three, who wore a fully sheer, crystal-encrusted Joy Ciofi dress to a recent event in Manhattan. Ms. Lombardo said that while sheer looks used to be reserved for the “waiflike fashion set,” now the look felt more inclusive.

“Instead of feeling victimized by my sexuality because my boobs are bigger and my butt is bigger, I can own it and celebrate it on my terms,” she said.

As for nipple censorship, the tides seem to be turning along with fashion. Activists for the “free the nipple” movement have long bemoaned Instagram and Facebook’s rules around bare chests. But this January, Meta’s Oversight board, which advises the company on content moderation rules, suggested that Meta update its Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity Community Standard “so that it is governed by clear criteria that respect international human rights standards.”

Ms. Walsh, the Hollywood stylist, said that the sheer trend was about much more than transparent fabric; it was about bravery.

“Going bold means you are accepting all that you are, and deciding that you are worth taking chances on,” she said. “What can inspire more confidence than that?”

Write to Rory Satran at

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