Naked dresses are appropriate to wear on special occasions, as a rule, on the red carpet or the stage. These dresses reveal the female bodies more than hide them.
Naked dresses help to stand out, although today it is difficult to surprise wearing them. Three stars came to the MET Gala Ball in 2015 with the theme China: Through the Looking Glass in naked dresses: Kim Kardashian in a Roberto Cavalli dress, Beyoncé wearing Givenchy Couture dress, and Jennifer Lopez in the dress by Versace.
Kim Kardashian's dress is an interpretation of Cher's dress that she wore at the MET Gala Ball in 1974 with the theme Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design. Her dress with white embroidery and feathers was created by Bob Mackie. Cher also was on the cover of Time magazine in this dress.
Bob Mackie designed several naked dresses for Cher, including a dress that imitates an oriental costume with a sarong and glittery embroidery, which Cher wore during the 1988 Academy Award when she won the Oscar for Best Actress in Moonstruck (1987).
Designer Bob Mackie began his career as an assistant to Jean Louis, a Hollywood costume designer who also created some of the iconic naked dresses. The most famous is the dress which Marilyn Monroe wore singing the song Happy Birthday on the 45th birthday of US President John F. Kennedy in 1962. The dress of soft nude silk, hand-embroidered with thousands of crystals, which in the light of the spotlights created the effect of a naked body, was sewn right on her. Marilyn remained in furs until she went on stage, as not to reveal the intrigue of her dress.
Marilyn Monroe ordered this dress from Jean Louis, inspired by his chiffon dress with crystals and sequins for Marlene Dietrich, in which she performed in Las Vegas in 1953.
Later Jean Louis created several more naked dresses for Marlene Dietrich, which she wore performing on tour around the world.
Before Marilyn and Marlene women also wore naked dresses. After the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, antiquity became fashionable. Women, copying the clothing of the ancient Greeks and Romans, wore straight, white, high-waisted Empire-style dresses made from translucent fabrics. They temporarily stopped wearing corsets and put these dresses on the naked body, pre-wetting the fabric with water to highlight the figure. This fashion was called nude (a la sauvage) and it caused ridicule among cartoonists.
Women wore these dresses even in winter, so at the Montmartre cemetery, during this fashion, the number of tombstones for young fashionistas who died of pneumonia increased. Empress Josephine was not only the trendsetter of this fashion but also the victim.
In the first half of the twentieth century naked dresses were popular in cinema. Silent film actress Theda Bara in the film Cleopatra (1917) wore naked dresses and a bodice in the form of intertwined snakes. Clara Bow in the film My Lady of Whims (1925) wore a dress decorated with geometric prints in an Art Deco style.
Aside from cinema in the 1920s, naked dresses were worn on stage and at parties. Dancer Josephine Baker became a world celebrity mostly due to the naked costumes made of feathers and banana skins, in which she initially performed on the stages of Paris, and then around the world. At parties, naked dresses were also worn by other style icons of this time: Lilya Brik and Luisa Casati.
More about 1920s women's fashion style icons read in Roaring Twenties post.
In the 1930s, actress Mae West was famous for her revealing outfits. In the movie Go West Young Man (1936) she wore a naked black dress.
Naked dresses among the style icons of their time never go out of fashion: in the 1940s such dresses were worn by Rita Hayworth, in the 1960s by Jane Birkin, in the 1990s by Kate Moss.
In the 1960s, hippies used nudity as a symbol of personal freedom and anti-war protest during the Summer of Love Festival (1967): girls wore transparent maxi dresses and gauze shirts over their naked bodies.
If we speak about evening naked dresses of the 1960s (in addition to Marilyn's dress) I would also like to mention the Balmain dress, which actress Carroll Baker wore at the premiere of The Carpetbaggers (1964).
Unwittingly, in 1969, Barbra Streisand was also among the idols of naked outfits. At the Academy Awards, she picked up her Best Actress Award in Funny Girl (1968) in a black naked jumpsuit with white cuffs and a collar, designed by Arnold Scaasi. In normal light, the jumpsuit was not naked. About its effect in the spotlight, she saw only from the newspapers.
The naked dresses worn by Jennifer Lopez are endless. Most famous is the green Versace dress with palm leaf print and a very low neckline, which she wore at the 2000 Grammy Awards. At the time, the dress caused an unprecedented hype on Google and influenced the creation of the image search service Google Images. The dress even has its own Wikipedia page. In 2019, Jennifer closed the Versace Spring / Summer 2020 runway wearing a new version of this dress.
During the last decade, naked dresses wore not only the previously mentioned Kim Kardashian but also Bella Hadid, Irina Shayk, Rita Ora, Katy Perry, Kate Winslet, Paris Hilton, Heidi Klum, and others. (for more photos please press to the right).
Naked dresses were worn also by members of the British royal family. Megan, Duchess of Sussex, in a naked Ralph & Russo dress posed for the official photos of the engagement with Prince Harry.
And Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, then Kate Middleton, as legend has it, in a naked dress at a charity fashion show at the University of St Andrews in 2002 charmed Prince William.
The most scandalous naked dress in the last decade can be confidently called the dress which in 2014 Rihanna wore receiving the prize in the category Style Icon at the CFDA Fashion Awards. The dress made of silver mesh fabric and handmade sewn with 230 thousand Swarovski crystals was created by Adam Selman. The dress was complemented by long gloves and a durag made of the same fabric.
Thanks to the almost guaranteed wild reaction of the audience, we will see many more naked dresses at social events related to fashion or show business, as soon as they will be resumed.