The Most Daring Outfits At London's Vogue World 2023

It's Anna Wintour's world, and we're all just living in it — or at least we'd like to, because then we'd have a front-row seat at Vogue World: London 2023. That's right, after the success of 2022's Vogue World: New York, Vogue's iconic editor-in-chief took the party across the pond to launch London's fashion week with a spectacular, celebrity-studded event held at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on September 14. According to Vogue, multi-award-winning director Stephen Daldry was tapped to create a "theatrical celebration of the very best of British culture and fashion," and it seems he didn't disappoint. The evening was much more than just couture-clad clotheshorses strutting down catwalks. It was a unique fashion experience that included performances from some of the top names in the music, theatre, and film industries. A feast for the senses, Vogue World: London celebrated the fashion-forward while honoring the past, closing out the show with the fab four OG supermodels, Linda, Christy, Cindy, and Naomi (no last names required), walking the runway accompanied by live vocals from Annie Lennox. 

The night was filled with fun, fantasy, and plenty of cutting-edge fashion both on and off the stage. Celebrities turned up and turned out in designer creations that ranged from elegant to eyebrow-raising. Bellies were bared, pants were optional, and gender lines were blurry as guests embraced the vibe of fashion's biggest night. Here are a few of the most daring outfits that will be talked about for years to come.

Jodie Turner-Smith

In 2022, People christened Jodie Turner-Smith its "Best Dressed Star," and it was easy to see why. The British actress and model is almost as well known for her unapologetically bold fashion choices as she is for her breakout role in the film "Queen & Slim."  Nothing is too colorful or over the top for the star of "White Noise," who described her style to the magazine as "vibrant, vivacious, and joyful." After her appearance at Vogue World, she might want to add "cheeky" to that description. 

Taking the "no pants" look to a new level, Smith showed up in a Viktor & Rolf design that left little to the imagination. Looking like the total package wrapped up in the designer's trademark bow, Turner-Smith was swathed on top in black fabric that was dipped and draped strategically to create a futuristic-looking, almost Judy Jestson-esque neckline that played peek-a-boo with her bare midriff. Intriguing as it was, the top half was no match for what was going on below. The bottom half of the ensemble, or lack thereof, put the model's mile-long legs on full display thanks to nothing more than a pair of black briefs. With this much skin in the game, Smith kept the rest of her look simple and monochromatic with black elbow-length gloves, sky-high heels, and simple yet statement-making bling. 

Sienna Miller

Not one to let a little thing like pregnancy slow her down, Sienna Miller proudly showed off her baby bump in a white cropped shirt and giant pouffy skirt by Schiaparelli couture. Miller, who is expecting her second child (her first with her model beau Oli Green), typically eschews over-the-top fashions in favor of a more laid-back, bohemian style. But with this white confection, she appears to be joining a growing number of women who are redefining society's expectations of expectant mothers. Daniel Roseberry, creative director at Schiaparelli, says more power to them. "Another antiquated 'rule' to consider, question, and in this case, disregard entirely," he told Vogue. "Her choice is our honor. Nothing but our love and congratulations to Sienna and her little one in the making."

Besides her glowing belly — which looked reminiscent of an egg resting on a nest — the only other accessory the "Anatomy of a Scandal" star rocked was a pair of statement earrings that dangled to her shoulders. Harry Lambert was the stylist behind Miller's look, and he had great expectations for how it would be received. "I'm super proud of and excited for this one," Lambert told the outlet that night. "It deserves to make headlines!" Mission accomplished.

Ncuti Gatwa

The women weren't the only ones having fun on London fashion's biggest night. The men stepped up their red carpet game by trading in the traditional tux for things like sequins, short suits, sheer fabrics, and bold pops of color. Ncuti Gatwa went straight from "Barbie" world to Vogue World in a showstopping creation that looked like it could have been stolen from his "Sex Education" character Eric's closet. The mind behind Gatwa's look was the young Paris-based designer Burc Akyol, who's been getting a lot of attention since his eponymous brand's launch in 2018. While Gatwa rocked the designer's sheer top and draped pants on the red carpet, Akyol told L'Officiel that he designs for the "Red Pavement." "Because each piece is designed to make the street your personal red carpet!" He explained.

Gatwa — who once bared more than his chiseled chest in British Vogue — served the look with so much confidence that it's hard to believe the star of BBC's "Doctor Who" ever had any self-doubt. However, before landing a role in "Sex Education," the hunky West African was just another struggling actor trying to pay the rent. He had enjoyed some success on stage, but that was followed by lean years of staying with friends and borrowing money for food. These experiences took a toll, and in an interview with British Vogue, he admitted, "My self-worth felt very drained." With all his recent success, though, it's safe to assume his self-worth is back on track. 

Francesca Hayward

Royal Ballet Principal Francesca Hayward looked on pointe stepping out in a white crocheted dress from The Row (even if it did bring to mind the scene from "Reality Bites" where Ethan Hawke tells Wynona Rider that she looks like "a doily"). Doily comparisons aside, this dress was in keeping with the other sheer and barely there looks of the evening. With its high neck and long skirt, it appeared at first glance to be on the demure side, especially when paired with the dancer's short white gloves. However, closer inspection revealed something a little more racy, with plenty of skin visible through the open weave design. 

The Row was launched in 2006 by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and is typically characterized by minimalist style and timeless pieces. This dress maintains a little of the minimalistic style while maximizing the impact of the fabric. It's a sophisticated yet sexy look, which may explain why the tiny dancer, who stands at just 5 foot 1, chose it. In a 2021 interview with Harper's Bazaar, Hayward talked about the struggle of dressing for her petite frame and explained why she never wears pink unless she's on stage. "I don't want to look 'cute,' which is hard when you're small. You'd be surprised how many times I get trodden on walking down the street," she says. It looks like she was able to hold her ground on the red carpet beautifully. 

Yasmin Finney

Yasmin Finney was a heartstopper in a barely-there black Valentino design that followed the less-is-less dress code of the evening. The stunning 19-year-old actor plays Elle, a trans teen on the Netflix hit "Heartstopper." Finney is also a transgender woman and in a 2023 interview with Elle, the "Doctor Who" star shared, "I have always been feminine, whether I liked it or not. It's never been like, "Oh my god, I'm trans now." Yet not everyone in her life was accepting of her identity, and Finney struggled to find her place. Cleary she did, appearing on countless magazine covers and in ad campaigns, including one for YSL Beauty, and serving as a voice for transgender youth everywhere. 

Describing herself in the same interview as an "almighty trans beam of light," Finney says that the key to both her and her "Heartstopper" character's success lies in their confidence. In another Elle interview, she explained, "I think confidence is from within, and I think you can really see that [Elle's] got all of that confidence within her now." She added, "I'm a very confident person as Yasmin." One look at the way she's wearing that Valentino and there's no doubt she was telling the truth. 

Nicola Coughlan

Normally it's Princesses Bea and Eugenia who turn heads in over-the-top headpieces, but although both attended Vogue World: London, neither wore a hat. Perhaps they knew they couldn't compete with "Bridgerton" fan-favorite, Nicola Coughlan, who turned up in a Harris Reed ensemble that included one of the British designer's infamous toppers. Vogue has called Reed "one of the capital's biggest fashion dreamers, who frequently fuses his off-kilter fabulous work with the theatrical." So there was no one better to design a red carpet look for an event that BAFTA and Olivier-winner Stephen Daldry (who worked with Vogue to orchestrate the evening) described as "a wonderful crucible of creative energy, fusing different art forms in a celebratory, witty and irreverent manner."  

Of course, not everyone can pull off the corseted velvet gown and stunning headpiece the designer created for Coghlan, but Reed was sure the firey redhead was up to the task. "What I love about Nicola and so many of the individuals I get to work with, like Ashley Graham and Precious Lee, is that they feel so confident within their skin and know how they want their body to feel," Harris said in an interview with Vogue, later adding, "Nicola owns who she is, she knows what she wants and she's fierce."

AJ Odudu

"Big Brother" host AJ Odudu looked like a giant flower, complete with great stems, in a metallic purple mini designed by Robert Wun. With a long train and layers upon layers of face-framing ruffles, the popular British television host reigned over the red carpet in the regal gown that showed off her legs to their full potential. Simple hoops and strappy sandals provided the look's finishing touches. 

Odudu is not the only celebrity who is a fan of Wun's work. Since launching in 2014, the designer has curated a list of clients that reportedly include Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Florence Pugh, Celine Dion, Doja Cat, and other big names. The designer caught more than the attention of celebrities earlier this year when he made history by becoming "the first Hong Kong designer at Paris Haute Couture Week," according to the South China Morning Post. His show featured a collection of deconstructed fashion styles that he told Vogue was inspired by "my own fear and insecurity." He explained, "I wanted to do something that can put two extremes together to find a new balance. If couture is only beautiful and delicate and inspired by flowers, then everyone winds up doing the same thing." 

Saffron Vadher

Yet another celebrity who RSVP'd "no" to pants was model Saffron Vadher, who instead opted for sparkly gold briefs and a black short-sleeved top courtesy of Miu Miu. With her dark hair slicked back and sheer black tights, she was serving off-duty dancer vibes ala "A Chorus Line." Vadher's own story, however, is more of a fairytale than a Broadway show. According to Elite Model Look, Vadher, who was diagnosed with leukemia as a child, basically walked into Elite's London agency on a whim and walked out with a successful modeling career that has included walking the runways for some of the world's biggest designers and appearing in countless magazines. 

Married to Derek Peth of "Bachelor in Paradise" fame, Vadher may look at home in couture and on catwalks, but her personal style is much more low-key. She told British Vogue, "When I'm at home, I wear tracksuits and jumpers. Even when I go out, my style is simple: jeans, shirts, nothing really spectacular." And if she hadn't become an internationally famous model? She told Harper's Bazaar, "I would have liked to work with children, so maybe I'd be teaching at a primary school." 

Maisie Williams

In a look that was a little Wednesday Addams, a little Madonna circa the '80s, and a little naughty schoolgirl, Maisie Williams cut a cool path on the red carpet in her Maison Margiela ensemble. And, lest Nicola Coughlan think she was winning the best headpiece award, Williams threw her John Galliano hat into the ring. According to Vogue, the hat was "pieced together with scraps of trash and paper" and featured a black mesh veil over Williams' face. It attached under her chin with a black polka dot ribbon for an overall effect the magazine dubbed "a punk rendition of the over-the-top hats that dot high society's functions."

A hat made from trash for a celebrity? When that celebrity is a voice for sustainable fashion, our answer is a resounding yes. The actor, who is best known for her role as Arya Stark on "Game of Thrones," hasn't always been a couture queen. Since the ending of "Thrones," Williams has been named H&M's Global Sustainability Ambassador in 2021. "H&M reached out and expressed that they wanted to make serious changes within their company and work towards a more circular fashion loop," she told Vogue. Passionate about repurposing, Williams has worked with the brand to help them come up with more eco-friendly practices. 

Maude Apatow

With her tulle skirt and waist-length veil, Maude Apatow might have been walking down the aisle at Westminster Abbey instead of the red carpet at Vogue World (though she's not even British). The "Euphoria" actress' "Princess Bride"-esque look was from luxury menswear Bode's spring 2024 womenswear line, a collection that Vogue called "one of the most highly anticipated launches of the year." Bridal theme aside, the skirt and bra were beautifully beaded in keeping with the attention to detail that makes up the Bode collection's timeless styles. To offset the unbridled (or bridal) feminity of her gown, Apatow wore her hair parted down the middle in a severe style and added a slash of crimson on her lips. The contrast gave the look a little more grit than a girly vibe. 

Apatow, who is the daughter of actress Leslie Mann, has been playing the role of Audrey in an off-Broadway Westside Theater production of "Little Shop of Horrors" while on break from filming "Euphoria." A long-time fan of the musical, she talked about landing her dream role in a Vogue interview earlier this year. "If younger me saw that I got to play Audrey in 'Little Shop of Horrors' one day, she would be losing her mind," Apatow said. "I can't stress enough how lucky and grateful I feel for this opportunity." 

Joe Locke

Another heartstopping moment occurred when Joe Locke showed up in his version of Barbicore looking pretty in pink. The three-piece suit was the work of Valentino, and Locke paired it with shoes and socks in shades of burgundy for contrast. While he may look like a pro at this whole "wearing designers and walking the red carpet thing," the 19-year-old Locke is still learning to navigate the waters of being a celebrity. It wasn't that long ago that no one had heard his name, and now, thanks to his meteoric rise to fame playing Charlie Spring on "Heartstopper," the openly gay teen is suddenly the talk, and the toast, of the town. 

While he told Teen Vogue that he is an "extroverted introvert" who can "hold his own in social situations," he doesn't crave the whole celebrity see-and-be-seen lifestyle. He shared, "I'd be just as happy having a night in with some friends as I would be going out and going to a club." Though Locke may not consider himself socially daring, his red carpet look was a bold success.