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The secrets of red-carpet underwear

Nicole Kidman arrives at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards (Photo: Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong via Getty Images)

Oscar night is this Sunday, and one of the many questions we’ll be pondering besides who the winners are likely to be is how so many actresses get away with plunging necklines, thigh-high slits, and backless gowns on national television without revealing anything. Some of their Spanx, thong, and double-sided tape secrets are revealed in a new Racked article on “What Celebrities Wear Under Those Red Carpet Dresses.”

The article delves into the MacGyver-like tactics (one option: clear shipping tape) used to keep starlets in a sleek silhouette that will refrain from revealing too much on camera. Stylist Karen Raphael describes a variety of methods:

Raphael tells me some of the most challenging bra-less complications come by way of extremely thin fabrics. After trying silicone covers, fabric covers, medical tape, and even Band-Aids for a client’s award-show outfit, she wound up Scotch-taping an “X” over each nipple to perfection. It was a slam-dunk discovery she now uses regularly on wispy frocks.


Double-stick tape remains a frequent go-to, along with seashell bras, and seamless underwear that stays on with an adhesive. As fashions have changed, these methods have been pretty much perfected by stylists, so that the likelihood of a revealing Tara Reid-like red-carpet slip is now pretty low. “There are so many careful hands that go into creating a red-carpet look … it takes a village,” says stylist Lindsey Dupuis. “By the time you get on the carpet, you should feel super secure,” leaving most of the drama for the awards themselves.

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