The Most Shockingly Risqué Fashion Week Looks of All Time

There are only a few weeks in a year where fashion designers have the opportunity to showcase their new collections, their art, their visions...and some take it a bit too far.

By Corinne Heller Feb 15, 2020 3:00 PMTags
Watch: Necessary Realness: Kim Kardashian Plunges Into Fashion Week

Listen, sometimes models comes out on the runway and...they're green. No, not just new at walking a runway. Like, literally...they're green.

There are only a few weeks in a year, in cities such as New York, London and Paris, where fashion designers have the opportunity to showcase their new collections, their art, their visions to the most important people in the industry.

Sometimes they take risks—bright colors, vibrant and unusual patterns, elaborate hairstyles and headpieces, and enormous skirts are some examples—and sometimes they think they take risks—florals, for spring? Groundbreaking. Some pretty always play it safe.

Often, designers use fashion shows as an opportunity to make a bold statement.

And some have, at times, appears to take it a tad too far.

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See Every Celebrity at Fashion Week: Fall 2020

Check out some of the most shockingly risqué fashion week looks of all time:

Seeing Red

A model walks the runway during the Craig Green fall/winter 2022 show at The Factory in London.

Shiny Cover-Up

A model walks the runway at the Paco Rabanne Ready to Wear spring/summer 2021 fashion show as part of Paris Fashion Week.

Kim Kardashian at 2021 Met Gala

The reality star wears a creation from Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia to the 2021 Met Gala, which capped New York Fashion Week.

Dream Machine

At the start of the internet age, Thierry Mugler gave the fashion world a futuristic fantasy in the former of his fall/winter 1995 couture presentation during Paris Fashion Week, during which supermodel Nadja Auermann channeled a bionic fembot in a reflective silver metal bodysuit. Interestingly, the creation was designed in collaboration with aircraft specialist Jean-Pierre Delcros.

Seeing Double

With the appearance of Ming porcelain blended with baroque style, Guo Pei's 2019/2020 show was truly a work of art.

Crown Jewels

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, indeed! Richard Quinn's silver sparkly design proved that head-to-toe jewels are always a good idea.

Seeing Double

Severed heads...but make it fashion. Gucci pushed the boundaries for its fall/winter runway in 2018. From the jarring head props to the wild prints and over-the-top layers, this was a show to remember. Of the striking line, Alessandro Michele said, "We are the Dr. Frankenstein of our lives. There's a clinical clarity about what I am doing. I was thinking of a space that represents the creative act. I wanted to represent the lab I have in my head. It's physical work, like a surgeon's."

Little Black...Bra

Chanel is known for more than its famous tweed jackets and diamond-encrusted brooches. Thirteen years after he helmed the fashion house, Karl Lagerfeld pushed the envelope with the 1996 spring/summer collection, which featured itty-bitty bikinis, bum-baring dresses, muzzle-like accessories and more.

Outside the Box

Dior gave the phrase "out of the box" a whole new meaning with its daring and dazzling design for the fall/winter runway in 2019.

Bouquet Beauty

Gigi Hadid traipsed down the runway in a Moschino dress that looked like a literal bouquet of flowers at the spring/summer 2018 show.

Cross the Line

If there's one thing Iris Van Herpen knows how to do, it's steal the show with electrifying pieces. Case in point? The 2012 fall/winter collection was worthy of a museum display. The designer's collaborator, Julia Koerner, summed up the creations, saying they look like "a second skin on the body."

Naked Truth

Jean Paul Gaultier's spring/summer 1993 collection lit up the fashion world after he debuted this au natural look. Creating the illusion of a naked body, the bedazzled catsuit managed to appear both angelic and ethereal.

Hair for It

Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond sent fashion fans into a frenzy with this larger-than-life creation. From the multitude of rollers that created a cape-like silhouette to the ultra-chic velvet robe, we were hair for it.

Think Pink

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Claudia Li gave people an escape from reality with unique creations—like this voluminous pink dress, which offered a dramatic neck bow, over-the-top puffed sleeves and layers of ruffles.

Less Is More

Sometimes, being risqué means wearing something as simple as a black bustier and matching trousers. Miley Cyrus' added leather gloves and zebra-print coat gave this Marc Jacobs fall 2020 design more edge.

Red Hot, Hot, Hot

Only Valentino could make something both sexy and sophisticated all in one. This fiery red gown from the 2020 spring/summer runway was proof.

Mother of Pearl

Thierry Mugler debuted this breathtaking gown in 1995, which gave the illusion of a pearl in an oyster. It was a work of art, quite literally, as it was inspired and named after The Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli. And if it looks familiar, Cardi B dropped jaws at the 2019 Grammys wearing the vintage design.

Floral Fetish

Richard Quinn made a case for bondage face masks for the autumn/winter 2020 collection. The juxtaposition of the daring accessory mixed with the virtuous floral print made it a knock-out.

Speaking Volumes

As Mae West once said, "It's better to be looked over than overlooked." It's safe to say all eyes were laser-focused on this one-of-a-kind Comme des Garçons design, which debuted during the fall/winter 2020/2021 collection in Paris Fashion Week.

Heavenly Body

Guo Pei has clearly mastered the art of creating extravagant and ostentatious designs. For the spring/summer 2017 show, this diamond-embellished gown and its equally jewel-adorned headpiece made everyone ooh and aah.

Got It in the Bag

Moschino always brings electricity to the catwalk with deliciously kitschy and quirky designs—and this cheeky shopping bag dress wasn't any different.

Pretty in Pearls

John Galliano's 1997 runway collection for Dior fused the old with the new. His line was so breathtaking at the time, Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, compared him to the Christian Dior saying, "He has the same extraordinary mixture of romanticism, feminism, and modernity."

Out-of-This-World

Rick Owens perfectly blended grunge, edge and style for the autumn/winter 2019 collection, in which models sashayed down the runway in futuristic-looking ensembles. The designer summed up his line perfectly, telling Vogue, "I felt like I needed some grim, determined glamour."

Go Big or Go Home

Bold and blinding accents were clearly Schiaparelli's theme for its spring/summer 2021 haute couture collection. 

Flower Power

Thom Browne's decadent piece featured an explosion of flowers and mixed patterns for the 2020 Menswear spring/summer show. Let's just say the word "basique" wasn't part of the designer's vocabulary when creating this collection.

Sugar Rush

Charlotte Olympia brought whimsy and camp to the runway for its 2017 spring/summer presentation. From the delicately placed jewels to the over-the-top strawberry shape, the designer proved style can be both playful and dashing.

Little Black Suit

Jason Wu perfectly upgraded a closet staple by adding a fun twist to a black suit. The design, which debuted during New York Fashion Week in 2021, brought the drama with exaggerated silhouettes and fun stitching.

Making Waves

Iris Van Herpen's spring/summer 2017 show was chock-full of glitzy, glamorous and otherwordly pieces. Each design, such as this wave-like dress, deserved to be displayed in a museum.

Orange You Glad

When in doubt, go for something bright and bold like this Emilio Pucci number from its fall/winter 2017 runway.

A Parade of Flowers

Guo Pei made the fashion world swoon over this lavish design, which gave the illusion that the model was laying on a bed of flowers.

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