2021 has undoubtedly been the year of the high-fashion crop top, but, in this new skin-baring age, one star is on a mission to reignite another splashy red-carpet trend. Lady Gaga, who is dominating showbiz headlines with her House of Gucci promo tour looks and her Patrizia Reggiani accent, has been quietly campaigning for the return of the thigh-high dress split.
The best-leg-forward look, which demands a real power stance, dominated red carpets in the ’10s thanks to Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez’s commitment to serving high-octane looks. The image of Ange at the Oscars 2012–peak Brangelina era–with one hand on her Versaced hip and her right leg saying hi to the paparazzi gifted us with some of the decade’s best fashion memes. That same year, she attended the Golden Globes in a pearlescent Versace gown with an origami-style neckline. All eyes, however, were on Lara Croft’s legs.
The leg reveal to end all leg reveals: Angelina Jolie in Versace at the Oscars 2012. Ethan Miller
A classic Brangelina moment for the history books at the Golden Globes 2012. Frank Trapper
By the mid ’10s, everyone was doing slashed hemlines of jaw-dropping proportions. Jennifer Lopez, queen of the skin flash, doubled down on promoting that J Lo glow in gowns that were technical feats engineered with the words va va voom in mind. Giambattista Valli, Ralph & Russo, and Zuhair Murad, leaders of the diaphanous dress pack, were Jennifer’s go-tos. But, like Angelina, she always called in fashion’s ultimate glamazon, Donatella Versace, for the blockbuster events. The Met Gala 2019, which saw her quite literally dripping in crystals and almost lunging up the famous staircase, was one such moment. The words “actual goddess” come to mind.
Capelets, thigh-slits, trains: Lopez’s Giambattista Valli Golden Globes 2016 gown had it all. Steve Granitz
Gaga’s House of Gucci wardrobe has tapped into the “painful Italian glamour” she promised to channel. So naturally, Donatella was top of hit list of designers, along with Giorgio Armani and Valentino. Her siren-red silk Atelier Versace gown, which was corseted to the max but still made room for an eye-wateringly high thigh split, gave Angelina’s own conceal-and-reveal moments a run for their money. Just imagine a leg-off between the two.
Gaga demonstrating the definition of “painful Italian glamour” in Versace. Mondadori Portfolio
Gaga’s take on Guccification at the kick-off premiere for House of Gucci. Karwai Tang
As Jolie’s public-facing wardrobe has pivoted to the green-conscious re-airing of old treasures, seeing her in her high-impact Versace ballgown again is not a completely wild idea. Lopez, after all, gave her tropical, slashed-to-the-navel whisper of a Versace dress another turn in the spotlight. We are so here for that drama, which Gaga is more than delivering in the meantime.
Gaga with the dramatic theatre exit in Valentino. Patricia Schlein/Star Max
Gaga’s Et Ochs slip was made all the more striking thanks to her signature stripper platforms. MEGA