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The story behind Beyoncé’s latest “Naked” Dress

There are “naked” dresses and then there’s the whisper of a Celia Kritharioti dress Beyoncé wore to her husband Jay-Z’s Oscars after-party. In the ultimate mic drop moment following film’s big night, Queen Bey outshined every star (including Rihanna and her sheer Valentino) by posting a jaw-dropping shoot just for her Instagram followers. It was another classic episode of We are not worthy of Beyoncé.

Beyoncé made it look easy, but this was a “demanding” dress to make as well as to wear, according to couturier Kritharioti, who heads up the oldest Greek fashion house, established in Athens in 1906. It required hundreds of hours of embroidery, thousands of sequins and numerous fittings to realise the nude mesh look scattered artfully with twinkling beads. “Beyoncé works with one of the best teams of professionals and fashion connoisseurs which makes me feel safe, but with any gown, we leave nothing to chance!”, asserts the designer of the meticulous process orchestrated, for the most part, via Zoom.

Left: The spring/summer 2022 look on the runway. Right: Beyoncé’s custom version of the gown. Images: Celia Kritharioti.

Watching social media light up with Bey’s glittering gown was a full circle moment for Celia. “When I designed this dress I actually envisioned Beyoncé wearing it,” shares the designer of the spring/summer 2022 look, which Mrs Carter’s team requested promptly after seeing it at the Paris showcase. “In the past, we have had requests from Beyoncé for our embroidered mini dresses and matching thigh-high boots from my spring/summer 2019 collection, but timing is everything and, on this occasion, this is the one she wanted.”

It’s no surprise considering the core principles at the heart of Kritharioti’s world, which seem to chime with the powerhouse singer’s. “Old Hollywood is a reference although my primary aim is to always make women feel the best possible version of themselves,” says the woman who also keeps Vogue’s Sarah Harris in eveningwear that toes the line between slinky and ornate.

On why the naked dress will always have a place in the fashion lexicon, Kritharioti says, “It’s this ideal combination of femininity and sexiness. A dress like this is daring, but it oozes confidence.” Celia’s other muses? Jean Harlow, Mae West and Marilyn Monroe. Beyoncé is in good company.

This article was originally published on Vogue UK.

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