Celebrity Style

26 Years Ago, Rose McGowan Wore A Leopard-Print Thong On The Red Carpet

Absolutely unreal.

Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

The late ‘90s and early aughts brought us a lot of major pop culture fashion moments — most of which were all about the shock value. During this era, red carpets were all about taking risks in the style department that would inevitably get people talking. And one of the more infamous examples is actor and activist Rose McGowan’s choice of clothing — or lack thereof — at the 1998 Video Music Awards.

Over two decades ago, the “Charmed” star hit the crimson runway in a scantily-clad ensemble that left absolutely nothing to the imagination, securing a spot on the list of most revealing looks in fashion history.

“They slut-shamed me like crazy," she told Yahoo! Entertainment of the backlash she received at the time. "It was kind of hard. I hadn’t really ever dealt with global media shaming. But it prepared me for later on it happening to me a whole bunch. It was also like, ‘Sorry you’re square and I’m not. Bummer.'"

Rose’s See-Through Dress

The actor arrived to the VMAs wearing an embellished chainmail dress from designer Maja Hanson’s eponymous label, Maja. McGowan sported nothing underneath, letting her nips fly completely free long before the trend was adopted by the masses.

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On the bottom, the actor donned a leopard print thong, which was an accessory in and of itself. The dress’s halter silhouette clung to her body in the front, while the back consisted of a multiple layers of chains that were draped down the back of her legs.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

She finished the daring look with a pair of strappy mule sandals, set atop an ankle-breaking platform heel, giving the risqué midi dress a much needed lift.

Her Hot Pink Lipstick

As if the dress wasn’t jarring enough, McGowan was sure to make the entire look stand out with a few subtle details. Her ’90s thin brows and jet black hair were accompanied by neon pink lipstick, which made her features really pop.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

With all these moments in fashion history reaching milestone anniversaries, it’s easy to get bogged down with nostalgia. But outfits like McGowan’s make you remember how little has changed, because I could totally see someone wearing this in 2024 — hopefully with a little less hate.