Biggest Fashion Disasters In History October 28, 2019 May 6, 2022 Zygmunt Duda

There is no question that fashion is a fickle beast. What’s hot today is cold tomorrow, and what is cold today is the next big thing. Keeping up can be a challenge at best, and an impossibility at worst. Who is to say what will work, and what will be a train wreck? For this reason, perhaps more than in any other design field, fashion has the potential to be messed up badly.

Of course, no one wants to be a laughing stock. But it does help to take a look at the most notorious fashion disasters. Learning what these designers did wrong could be the ticket to learning how to avoid a disaster of your own. Take a look at some of the fashion design choices that are infamous for being wrong.

Pushing The Boundaries

Showing too much skin, or too little skin, is a big part of fashion design. The question of how much is too much has fluctuated dramatically over the years, with peaks and troughs. Why this boundary shifts so dramatically is a question all of its own. But there are, of course, points when the boundary has been shattered, and it has gone over probably worse than the designer would have liked.

In 1998, at the MTV Music Awards, Rose McGowan wore nothing but a G-string, covered by a transparent fabric. Her breast were all but entirely exposed. Or were they? In all fairness, it was probably supposed to be some sort of statement on the acceptable levels of nudity in culture. But for a live broadcast show it was deemed as an attention seeking stunt, and it outraged audiences.

Backwards Thinking

There is a desperation for celebrities to stand apart at events. The right outfit can bring much wanted attention to the celebrity, and help keep their name in the public’s mind. But as with McGowan above, when that desperation spills over and encourages bad decisions, it can have the exact opposite desired effect.

At the Oscars, 1999, Celine Dion made a choice that must have seemed so right at the time. She wore a white tuxedo that probably would have been rather striking, if worn correctly. But for reasons unknown she decided to wear it backwards. The neck line was halfway down her spine, meaning that the front of here was nothing but a white wall of ill-fitting fabric. Home viewers must have glanced up from their Canada bingo games, and wondered if they were hallucinating.

The Swan Dress

You may know this dress already, given how famous it has become as a total disaster. Bjork wore a dress to the Oscars that took the form of a swan; its neck draped around her neck, and a body acting as a frilly dress.

There is a world in which this design could possibly have worked. But as it stands, this fashion disaster gained a reputation only as being something so silly that it managed to make a beautiful woman look ridiculous.