Anya TaylorJoy attends the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15 2023 in Los Angeles...
Jeff Kravitz

Anya Taylor-Joy Proved the "Naked" Dress Remains an It Girl Style Staple at Critics’ Choice Awards 2023 Red Carpet – See Photos

The star is the latest to opt for bare-it-all brilliance.

Anya Taylor-Joy put on an elegant display in Los Angeles as she joined fellow stars at the Critics' Choice Awards. Taking to the red carpet in dazzling Dior Haute Couture, the actor donned a translucent nude gown with gem-encrusted scalloped detailing paired with statement Tiffany & Co. jewelry. Although she may not have taken home a prize, she certainly won big in the fashion stakes, cementing her position once again as a true Hollywood darling. 

Anya Taylor-Joy at the Critics Choice Awards 2023

Steve Granitz

Anya joins a coveted coterie of tastemakers who have bared all with a “naked dress,” a style favored by the bold, brave, and beautiful. Tantalizing yet tasteful, the history of nearly-nude couture is a rich tapestry of It girl supporters who have shone brightly throughout the past century.

It all began in the early 20th century. Attitudes towards sex, fashion, and performance were becoming more open. Flapper girls were raising hemlines and chopping off their long tresses in favor of a more androgynous appeal; ingénues were gracing the silver screen and being celebrated as movie mavens in their own right; and burlesque performers were wowing the crowds with acclaimed acts of feather-adorned tease. It was an era for the free and the fabulous. 

Josephine Baker, 1926

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Sally Blane, 1920

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By the 1930s, the so-called “illusion dress” had found its way out of downtown nightclubs and into the world of film. While Josephine Baker may have dominated the Paris scene with her risqué costumes that led her to be hailed “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw” by Ernest Hemingway in the ‘20s, a more subdued take on the look arose a decade later. 

Joan Crawford in Dancing Lady, 1933

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Jean Harlow championed the bias cut dress, which sultrily suggested the figure beneath without revealing too much, and Joan Crawford added to the modest mirage with intricately detailed layers of see-through chiffon. Mae West and Rita Hayworth later followed suit with decadent beaded creations in the coming years. 

In 1962, the “naked dress” got a global audience as Marilyn Monroe took to the stage at Madison Square Garden to sing a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy. For the occasion, the actor had French costume designer Jean Louis custom-create and sew her into the nude, form-fitting design that was covered in 2,500 rhinestones. Audible gasps could be heard from the audience when Monroe removed her white fur coat, revealing the awe-inspiring piece. (Sixty years later, it garnered another mouth-agape reaction when Kim Kardashian wore it to the Met Gala.)

Marilyn Monroe, 1962

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The 1970s called for a new poster girl for the trend. Enter: Cher. Erupting onto the scene in an enviable array of Bob Mackie-designed confections of couture, Cher tirelessly campaigned for the barely-there. From a see-through interpretation of Cleopatra to the flame-inspired red and gold number that Whitney Houston then donned, Cher’s nearly-nude ensembles were the epitome of glamour. 

Cher, 1974

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Cher, 1988

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Her most famous iteration, however, was the feathered jumpsuit she wore to the 1974 Met Gala; a look so famous that Time magazine put it on its cover a year later. Pop princess protegée Dua Lipa paid homage to the legendary ensemble in 2018 when she wore an almost identical ensemble on stage in Paris.

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Less ostentatious but undeniably chic, the 1990s came with its own naughtiness. The words on everybody’s lips were “Kate Moss,” and when the model donned a silver see-through slip dress with nothing but black briefs to an Elite Model Agency party in 1993, the “naked dress” had its rebirth. Three years later, It girl extraordinaire Tamara Beckwith added her quintessentially elegant charm to the look, donning a floral embroidered gown at a movie premiere, paired with white fur stole and coordinating pooch. 

Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, 1993

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Caprice, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Tamara Beckwith, 1996

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In the 21st century, the style has reached maximum impact, and society starlets are all coveting its undeniable glamour. It’s Dior for Lady Amelia Windsor, who donned a bustier design at the Fashion Awards in 2017, and anything Valentino or black lace for Talita von Fürstenburg, who’s been known to flash the flesh in fabulous fashion. 

Lady Amelia Windsor, 2017

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Talita von Fürstenburg, 2020

Edward Berthelot

However, if you really want to make a statement, it’s all about the sparkle. The Marchioness of Bath turned heads in a gem-bedecked Julien MacDonald design at the Global Citizen Prize in 2019, and Kate Moss referenced herself at her Diet Coke party at Annabel’s last year. Slipping into a dazzling and daring piece from fashion insider-favorite Turner Vintage, Moss provided a marvelously meta moment. Fashion is your armor. The most courageous let their couture show what’s underneath. 

The Marchioness of Bath, 2019

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Kate Moss, 2022

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This story first appeared in Tatler. It has been lightly edited. 

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