Every time we hear about celebrity wardrobe malfunctions, it takes us back to the ill-famed incident of XXXVIII Super Bowl 2004. Yes, you got it! The legendary singer Janet Jackson ‘accidentally’ exposed her breast, and what followed was heavy trolling and criticism. Or recently, there was yet another jaw-dropping celebrity wardrobe malfunction when Miley Cyrus’ top fell off at ‘Miley’s New Year Eve Party.’
Wearing designer ensembles and wowing audiences with gorgeous hairstyles and makeup is not only part of their profession but also a necessity. So, designer dress disasters are also quite possible. Embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions of celebrities are nothing new or uncommon. Time and again we have seen singers, actors, performers, and even royalty headlining for the wrong reasons. And we have also witnessed how gracefully and professionally they have handled the situations in their own style and with humor.
Here is a list of top 12 ‘high-strung’ (pun intended) celebrity wardrobe malfunctions that are just unforgettable, especially how the celebrities handled them –
Those Who Handled Celebrity Wardrobe Malfunctions Gracefully
And the nominations in the female category are:
While posing for the cameras at the 2022 BAFTA Awards, Salma Hayek had an ‘Oops!’ moment when her stunning purple gothic gown bunched up around the thigh-high slit revealing more of the black lace hidden underneath. To fix what the wind had unfurled, Salma bent forward, exposing more of her chest, while adjusting the slit. Later, on her Instagram, she joked about this incident saying, “Sometimes in an effort to cover something other things show up more,” while tagging the Instagram accounts of Gucci and BAFTA.
This one reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday when Princess Ann loses her shoe in a high-class engagement. Something similar happened in 2014 at the St. Patrick’s Day parade when Kate Middleton got her heels stuck in a street grate at the Aldershot Barracks in England. The Duchess of Cambridge gracefully bent down, pulled her shoe out, and resumed her duties at the event with a captivating smile on her face.
Not just Middleton, another star who faced even more embarrassing celebrity wardrobe malfunctions related to footwear is the ‘Lose You to Love Me’ singer Selena Gomez, who lost her black pumps to the SAG Awards more recently in February 2022 after her heels broke and she fell on the red carpet. Gomez was seen walking barefoot for the rest of the night. Later, she joked about it on Instagram, “Last night was such a magical one. I couldn’t keep my heels on but I did manage to take a couple selfies,” she wrote. Shoes or no shoes, the singer looked stunning enough to ‘Calm Down’ our speeding heartbeats.
The talented rapper not only knows her art well but can also handle a celebrity wardrobe malfunction with equal panache. During her performance at the Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival in June 2019, the colorful jumpsuit she wore ripped down the back zipper. The artist continued to perform with a torn-down bedazzled catsuit and soon rushed backstage, only to re-emerge in a bathrobe singing, “We gonna keep it moving, baby. We gonna keep it sexy, I don’t know how in this robe, but we gonna do it.” It was indeed a ripper performance.
The actress and songstress, who redefined the character of Cinderella, has not only set an example for young girls onscreen but also offscreen. During an appearance on BBC’s ‘The One Show’ on March 7, 2022, where she came to talk about her new single ‘BAM BAM’, she faced an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction that made it to the list of celebrity wardrobe mishaps of 2022. In an attempt to show a dance move from the music video, her loose oversized shirt revealed her breast. Although she appeared awkward, she quickly covered herself and joked, “Almost flashed you,” and carried on with poise and laughed off the incident later in her TikTok video.
Another memorable nip slip (well almost!) happened when actress Katherine Heigl was receiving the ‘Female Star of the Year’ award at the ShoWest Awards Ceremony in Nevada in 2010. Heigl was wearing a gorgeous red dress, and while she was delivering her acceptance speech, her left strap snapped and came off. Despite the embarrassing situation, the actress readjusted her dress and continued with what she was saying while smiling charmingly throughout her speech.
And if you thought nip slip is cringeworthy, there were other kinds of celebrity wardrobe malfunctions too. For example, Emma Watson had a Marilyn moment in 2009 when her gown exposed her nude underwear. While she was signing autographs, many were taking her underwear photographs. The actress was attending the premiere of ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ when the wardrobe malfunction happened on the red carpet.
The actress had yet another clothing disaster when she had a nip slip while attending the premiere of the ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ movie. But Emma Watson is known for how skillfully she handles wardrobe malfunctions. This time around too, she saved herself from embarrassment by flashing her pasties.
In the history of celebrity wardrobe malfunctions, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s ‘nipplegate’ act will go down in history as probably the most embarrassing one. While some say it was an accident, others maintain that it was a completely engineered act. But by the look of the songstress, it was pretty easy to figure out that she herself was quite shocked. What followed was a slew of hatred towards her, which is very unfair, to say the least, as Justin got off clean. Some even have this opinion that since the lyrics of this Timberlake song are such, the celebrity wardrobe design, as well as the timing of the malfunction (according to lyrics which says “Better have you naked by the end of this song”), was well planned and carried out to garner popularity by showing Janet’s right breast to around 100 million viewers on LiveTV.
The ‘nipplegate’, or ‘Janetgate’ as this fiasco is sometimes referred to, has led to the beginning of many things. YouTube (the most popular video-sharing website) started because of this incident. Interestingly, this event led to the coining of the term wardrobe malfunction. Janet Jackson became the most searched person in the years 2004 and 2005. And in the history of TiVo, this became the most-watched, recorded, and replayed moment.
After some really humiliating snafus, stars have become more aware and prepared for such celebrity wardrobe malfunctions today. Wardrobe mishaps are becoming more common, and celebrities handle them pretty well. Case in point, Dakota Johnson. In 2016, when the actress was in the process of accepting the award for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress at the People’s Choice Awards, her dress nearly fell open. While receiving the award for portraying the role of Anastasia Steele in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, she hugged the presenter Leslie Mann, who broke the back of Johnson’s dress accidentally and held it in place.
Friends helped Johnson to fix her dress onstage, and she joked about it by saying, “It’s not like nobody here hasn’t already seen my boobs,” she said. Her audience laughed with her as it could not agree more after watching her nude scenes in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’
Male Celebrity Wardrobe Malfunctions
The list of female stars and artists suffering celebrity wardrobe malfunctions is pretty long. But male celebrities are also not far behind. When it comes to disasters of such kind, we do have men who got people talking behind their backs (and about their fronts!).
And the nominations in the male category are:
Lil Nas X
While performing at the Saturday Night Live musical guest in May 2021, Lil Nas X’s pants ripped near the crotch while he was performing on a pole. Later he took to the microblogging platform Twitter to tweet, “at first I was afraid to even perform. Then we rehearsed for 2 weeks, then all of the dancers got removed because one had covid and new ones had to learn the routine in 24 hours, and then I ended up ripping my pants and couldn’t finish. Everything happens for a reason tho lol.”
Dubbed ‘penisgate’ himself, Lenny Kravitz flashed the crowd while squatting during a guitar solo performance, when his pants ripped, and he wasn’t wearing underwear. The 53-year-old musician kept his cool and continued the song.
During a photocall in January 2009 at the Georges V Hotel in Paris, for the movie ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, the much sought-after actor was posing for the cameras. The shutterbugs caught Brad Pitt with his fly open, and the pictures went viral.
The Final Verdict
The list of red carpet mishaps and celebrity wardrobe malfunctions at awards ceremonies, talk shows, fashion weeks, and performances are neither new nor such a big ignominy anymore. This is perhaps because, with every passing generation, people are becoming more accepting and woke. Also, we understand that despite their stardom, celebrities are humans like common-people. It is part of their job to look mesmerizing in their public appearances – that is how their fans want them to look. With such complicated designer ensembles, mishaps and snafus are only natural. Despite the clothing disasters, fans still love their favorite celebrities, so we are more accepting of them, just like modern-day celebrities are.