Fashion Week’s Nippliest Moments In History: From 1991 To 2024

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While the #freethenipple movement was only officially launched in 2012, the fashion industry has long championed the idea of women’s bodily autonomy. In fact, major designers have been freeing the nipple on fashion week runways since the 1990s.

In 1992, the New York Supreme Court amended nudity laws, allowing women to go topless in public. (Prior to this, those who publicly showed breasts were at risk of arrest.) The newfound freedom quickly trickled onto the fashion scene, resulting in some truly memorable moments.

Within the year, designer Jean Paul Gaultier enlisted his muse Madonna to model for charity. Shocking the audience, she wore a floor-length dress with breast cut-outs that completely revealed her own — a pivot from her signature cone bra.

The same decade saw one designer after another releasing nip-forward looks, including Chanel, Gucci, Dior, and Valentino, who showed a nipple-packed collection just this year.

In the decades since, countless other fashion houses have followed suit — birthday suit. Tapping the best models and buzziest stars, everyone from Naomi Campbell and Shalom Harlow to Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner have rocked see-through styles on the runway.

Now that one of the most nipple-forward fashion weeks has come to a close, it’s the perfect time to reexamine the nipple’s starring role in fashion week history. Below, the most notably nipply looks from 1991 to today.

1991: Tyra Banks In Mesh For Sonia Rykiel

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European designers were among the first to add nip-focused looks to their collections. In 1991, for example, Sonia Rykiel gave the traditional suiting an NSFW upgrade when she sent Tyra Banks down the runway in a net top that exposed her breasts. It was major moment in Banks’ modeling tenure.

1992: Madonna Bared Her Breasts For Charity

Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier at the American Foundation For AIDS Research (AMFAR) in September 199...

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By the ’90s, Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier were already an iconic fashion duo. He was the brains behind her shocking cone bra ensembles and she, his muse.

The two stunned audiences when Gaultier mounted a show to raise money for the American Foundation For AIDS Research (AMFAR). Among the celebrity roster, Madonna made the biggest wave, stepping onto the runway in a dress that had only a leather harness around her breasts — completely exposing them to attendees.

Kim Kardashian would later wear this exact same dress, though with added bra cups.

1993: Naomi Campbell’s Intentional Nip Slip At Chanel

Naomi Campbell at the Chanel haute couture show in January 1993.

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Campbell has had her fair share of free-nip catwalks over the years (she rocked a couple this Spring 2024 season alone). But back in the ’90s, the supermodel was already championing the look. In 1993, she walked in the Chanel couture show cloaked a flowy lavender creation that had a nip slip built into the design.

1996: Tom Ford’s Sheer Undies For Gucci

Model Georgina Grenville at Gucci's Spring 1997 show.

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During Tom Ford’s reign as Gucci’s creative director, he completely (and controversially) transformed the brand by taking it into NSFW territory.

Unsurprisingly, a few of his Gucci shows featured see-through garments, including this iconic monogrammed sheer bra from 1996. It was paired with a matching thong — another of Ford’s more risqué choices for the label.

To this day, Gucci’s sheer bras are a fashion favorite. Dua Lipa, for example, is a big fan.

1997: Christian Dior’s Body Harness Dress

Shalom Harlow models for Christian Dior in July 1997.

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One of the most iconic fashion moments of the era happened on the Christian Dior Fall 1997 runway. Shalom Harlow wore an ethereal, see-through gown with nothing but a skin-tone thong underneath.

Much like Madonna’s dress, Harlow’s floral-embroidered number featured a gilded harness that looked like jewelry.

2005: Calvin Klein Kept The Nipple-Baring Look Alive

Model wearing Calvin Klein at the Spring 2005 Runway in New York.

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The new millenium saw designers harkening less to free the nipple styles (instead, it became the era of exposed thongs). But Calvin Klein, who was always a big proponent of the body-flaunting philosophy, continued to send models down his runways in utterly sophisticated, yet utterly-sheer ensembles.

2014: Kendall Jenner Made Her NYFW Debut Sans Bra

Kendall Jenner walks the runway at the Marc Jacobs fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fa...

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I can’t remember an era when Kendall Jenner wasn’t a supermodel, but back in 2014, she was just starting her career. She famously made her NYFW debut at Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2014 show.

The soon-to-be supermodel paraded down the runway in a completely sheer top, causing quite the internet stir. Jenner would free the nipple once again for the label in 2017. Since then, she has become one of the biggest Hollywood advocates for nipple autonomy.

2016: Gigi Hadid’s Shimmery Dress At Fendi

Model Gigi Hadid presents a creation for fashion house Fendi during the 2017 Women's Spring / Summer...

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Meanwhile, Jenner’s BFF and fellow supermodel Gigi Hadid bared it all for Fendi. The Guest in Residence founder has worn transparent looks several times in the years since, though this shimmery masterpiece is easily her most memorable.

2019: Valentino’s Sheer Era Returns

Naomi Campbell walks the runway during the Valentino Haute Couture Spring Summer 2019 show.

Dominique Charriau/WireImage/Getty Images

While more designers have returned to the uncensored look in recent years, the nipple’s renaissance was evidenced most effectively at Valentino’s Haute Couture Spring 2019 show.

The fashion house presented a bevy of ornate pieces that fully flaunted the body part, including this ruffled confection. The designer even reunited with Campbell for yet another nip-forward look.

In recent years, Florence Pugh has been a stunning canvas for Valentino’s most sheer designs, doing the label stylish justice.

2023: Mugler’s Transparent Work Of Art

A model walks the runway during the Mugler Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 show.

Marc Piasecki/WireImage/Getty Images

From New York to Paris, the recent Spring 2024 season was definitely the nippliest fashion month so far. The designers who stood out, however, where those who upgraded the uncensored look to museum-worthy status. Enter: Mugler.

In October 2023, the label showed multiple translucent breast plates made entirely out of resin. A masterclass in fashion as art.

2024: Margiela’s Pubic Hair Dress

A model at Maison Margiela's Paris Couture Week 2024.

Courtesy of Maison Margiela

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