High fashion, but make it an act of resistance. During Rome Fashion Week, Florence Pugh made a major statement by arriving at the Valentino Haute Couture fashion show on Friday, July 8, in a nearly naked Valentino look that left her full chest on display. The high-neck, halter gown was bright fuchsia, a shade that Barbie herself would drool over, and was entirely sheer. While some celebs keep mum about their decision to try out the nearly naked trend, Pugh had powerful words for critics and fans alike about her choice to free the nipple.
Pugh’s Instagram caption about her completely sheer Valentino dress read a bit like a mini-personal essay that starts with her styling team’s decision to go nearly naked — “I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it. Whether it be negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing” — and then got even more personal. The Don’t Worry Darling star shared the endless barrage of criticism she’s received about the size of her chest, how she’s come to terms with “the intricacies” of her body, and her refusal to bend the knee to misogynists, trolls, and anyone who thinks it's acceptable to be “loudly abusive towards women publicly.”
In just over 400 words, the 26-year-old Oscar nominee took readers on a journey that most people have experienced: being judged for how they look. “It isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last time a woman will hear what’s wrong with her body [from] a crowd of strangers,” Pugh wrote, adding that “what’s worrying is just how vulgar some of you men can be.”
Pugh shared the sexualizing and demeaning terms she’s heard men use in reference to her chest, a feature she’s learned to love thanks to “a household with very strong, powerful, curvy women.” Pugh goes on to share that “we were raised to find power in the creases of our body. To be loud about being comfortable.” It was an act of defiance and celebration of her body, creases and all, including the “‘flaws’ that I couldn’t bear to look at when I was 14,” that helped inspire Pugh to wear a see-through gown with her back straight and her head held high.
Pugh ends her mini-manifesto with a line I’d like to blast in a car with the windows rolled down for the rest of the summer. While I totally encourage you to head over to the ‘Gram and read the entire caption, if you take away just one snippet from Pugh’s powerful message, let it be this one: “Grow up. Respect people. Respect bodies. Respect all women. Respect humans. Life will get a whole lot easier, I promise.”