Hollywood's fashion statement of the moment? Baring all (well, nearly all).

By Degen Pener
June 19, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Ever since Ashley Judd united the words crotch and Oscars last March, nude chic has become more popular than ice cubes at a Showgirls audition. At a recent wedding in London, Elizabeth Hurley helped promote the look, flashing leopard panties via a groin-high slit in her dress. Last month, Sigourney Weaver swept through the Cannes film festival in a too-sheer black dress.

But nowhere has this exhibitionistic tendency been more pronounced than at June 4’s MTV Movie Awards. Forget Denise Richards‘ exposed navel—if you can. That was demure compared with Courteney Cox‘s Ralph Lauren dress. Worn without a bra, it turned Cox into more of a Friend than ever. Other near-naked outfits, meanwhile, left a bit more to the imagination, like Jennifer Lopez‘s metallic halter-cum-napkin (one couldn’t help wondering what a strong gust of wind would accomplish), Carmen Electra‘s Stephen Sprouse gown (what does she do if the top comes untaped?), or Jamie Lee Curtis‘ Pamela Dennis number (what’s the plan if the strategically scrunched fabric suddenly comes unscrunched?).

So is all this nakedness a good thing? Fashion mavens and celebrities have different takes. “It’s all about how much your body can handle,” says designer Marc Bouwer. “Because nobody wants to look at saggy boobs and wrinkled skin. But if you have a great body, why not show it?” Hollywood stylist Phillip Bloch agrees: “These girls are gorgeous. They’re young. What’s the problem? Although I do suggest that all my clients wear panties.” But Minnie Driver sees a downside to the bare facts. “I just get a bit worried that things are going to fall out. I don’t want my posterior recorded for posterity.”

(Additional reporting by Tricia Laine)

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