Marilyn Monroe is the patron saint of bare-chested glamour. Monroe recounted in a 1960 interview with Marie Claire that when a previous reporter had asked what she wore to bed, “I said, “Chanel No 5,” because it’s the truth, but I don’t want to say “nude,” she had replied. From that point forward, nudity—or the implication of it—became essential to her brand. Kim Kardashian made news at the Met Gala in May of this year by donning the outfit that Marilyn Monroe wore to sing Happy Birthday to US President John F. Kennedy 60 years ago. skeleton dress
The most talked-about red carpet gowns of the year, the trendiest wedding gown of the year, and the Paris Fashion Week catwalk moment that went viral all included bare dresses. The Spanish Steps in Rome were turned into a catwalk for Valentino’s haute couture show in July, but Pugh’s front-row outfit with a sheer fuchsia halterneck gown and no bra stole the show.
Olivia Wilde, the director of the actor’s
film Don’t Worry, Darling, took the “free the nipple” baton at the Academy Museum gala three months later while wearing a silver Alexandre Gauthier sheath so fine that what was underneath was only a pair of shoulder pads. Despite the technical mastery of its design, the naked dress’s visceral force comes from its ability to draw attention to the body beneath. skeleton dress
It has evolved into a cultural symbol at a time when women’s bodies are being used as a political football. The US Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to an abortion this year, while Masha Amani’s death in detention after being detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly donning her hijab incorrectly triggered huge demonstrations.