Pret-a-Reporter

Did Madonna Launch the Sheer Skirt Over Leotard Trend?

Christopher Polk/VF11/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images
Madonna in 2011; Taraji P. Henson at the 2016 BET Awards

We investigate.

Taraji P. Henson brought new life to a tried-and-true trend at Saturday's BET Awards when she hit the stage in a Steven Khalil sheer embellished skirt layered over a black leotard-like bodice. (May we also just take this moment to acknowledge the works of art that are Henson's killer gams.)

Though we've seen the leotard/sheer-dress combo time and time again over the past few years, there was something sophisticated about Henson's look, which her stylist, Jason Bolden, paired with simple Jimmy Choo sandals and Kimberly McDonald drop earrings.

With its mid-calf, tapered hemline, it felt like a fresh iteration of the look, compared to the long and lacey versions seen more frequently on the red carpet. And it got us thinking — who started this trend anyway? Our bets were on a supermodel (because when you have legs for days, putting them on full display is only logical), however a little digging revealed that it may have been Madonna, the Material Girl, who kicked off the trend for this decade. 


TREND SETTERS: Madonna, left, at the Vanity Fair Oscar afterparty in February 2011; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Gucci at the Moscow premiere of Transformers 3 in June 2011. (Photo: Getty Images)

Madge arrived at the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty in February 2011 wearing a black leotard with a sheer lace overlay, fishnet stockings and a fur stole. Just a few months later in June, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley donned a more conservative take on the trend at the premiere of Transformers 3 in Moscow, showing off her stems in a sheer Gucci gown and high-waisted black briefs. 


PRETTY IN PASTEL: Jennifer Lawrence, left, in a Dior gown at the Los Angeles premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013; Julianne Hough in Jenny Packham at the 2013 Emmy Awards. (Photos: Getty Images)

Two years later, the trend picked up speed — and volume. The internet's darling, Jennifer Lawrence, wowed in a belted, lavender Dior gown at the Los Angeles premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, while Julianne Hough also opted for a full-skirted number at the 2013 Emmys, wearing an embellished Jenny Packham look. 


DRAMA-RAMA: Kim Kardashian, left, in a Ralph & Russo couture skirt and Atsuko Kudo latex body suit at the 2014 British GQ Men of the Year Awards in London; Nicole Richie in Blumarine at AOL's Original Programming premiere in 2014. (Photos: Getty Images)

Leave it to Kim Kardashian to take the already-sexy trend in an even sexier direction in 2014. The buxom babe showed off her curves in a latex bodysuit by Atsuko Kudo, which she styled with a bedazzled Ralph & Russo couture skirt at the 2014 British GQ Men of the Year Awards. Nicole Richie added some gothic flair of her own when she arrived at AOL's Original Programming premiere in a black lace gown with red rose details. 


BACK TO BLACK: Gwen Stefani, left, in Yousef Al-Jasmi at the 2015 American Music Awards; Bella Hadid in a Julien McDonald look at the 2016 Elle Style Awards. (Photos: Getty Images)

Gwen Stefani and Bella Hadid took the trend in an edgier direction. At the 2015 American Music Awards, Stefani's Yousef Al-Jasmi gown had a voluminous ruffle top detail, while Hadid's Julien McDonald gown also clicked the fringe trend box at the Elle Style Awards earlier this year.


MODERN TAKE: Gigi Hadid, left, in Yanina Couture at the 2016 Daily Front Row Awards; Taraji P. Henson in Steven Khalil at the 2016 BET Awards. (Photos: Getty Images)

Bella's big sis, Gigi Hadid, and Taraji P. Henson demonstrated that for 2016, it's all about super-sheer fabrics. Hadid arrived at The Daily Front Row Fashion Awards in a Yanina Couture look with a crystal-clear sheer overlay that she paired with a white leotard. Henson's look from earlier this week only proves that barely-there looks are here to stay.

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