10 sexiest on-stage costumes of all time
One of the most enduring theories put forward by legendary naturalist Charles Darwin was that music, evolutionarily, is all about sex. “Musical notes and rhythm,” he wrote in The Descent of Man, “were first acquired by the male and female progenitors of mankind for the sake of charming the opposite sex.”
It makes sense, then, that sex and music have almost always walked hand-in-hand. From presumptuous dancing to saucy lyrical content and even the racy outfits of musicians, one thing has always been for sure: sex sells. For years, Artists have been channeling their inner sexual deviant through daring, rule-breaking fashion choices, so we’ve compiled ten of the most iconic sexy stage costumes for your viewing pleasure.
Mick Jagger’s embellished unitard, 1973
Arguably one of rock’s greatest frontmen of all time, young Mick Jagger wasn’t just famous for his voice, but his unique style and famous, energetic dance moves made him one of the sexiest men alive. Never one to shy away from showing a little skin, Jagger would rock anything from embellished jumpsuits to skin-tight leather pants with nothing on top. One of his most iconic stage outfits was at a 1973 Rolling Stones concert at Wembley Empire Pool, where he flaunted a bare chest, a fitted embellished velvet unitard, and a circus ringmaster style tailcoat.
Freddie Mercury’s harlequin catsuit, 1977
Freddie Mercury was always known for his high-glam, theatrical, flamboyant fashion choices, always making a statement with his racy stage costumes. Wearing everything from head-to-toe sequin catsuits to high-octane military jackets studded with epaulettes, Mercury was a style icon. The Queen frontman wore an array of different full-length bodysuits throughout his career, all of which boasted a plunging scoop neckline that bared his chest. Arguably one of his most iconic and risqué choices was the black-and-white harlequin catsuit he wore onstage in 1977.
Tina Turner’s embellished naked dress, 1982
Legendary hair, an unstoppable career, a show-stopping voice and legs for days, Tina Turner is both a music icon and a style icon. Her energetic live performances were always matched with mesmerising on-stage outfits, consistently showing off glitzy, glamourous style, and a whole lotta leg. Tina was a trend-setter, wearing plunging, sheer, cutout naked dresses on stage well before they became standard on the red carpet. One of Tina’s most iconic racy looks was this sheer cutout dress with fringing and embellishments that she wore for a 1982 performance of Proud Mary.
Madonna’s Icons bra bodice by Jean-Paul Galtier, 1990
Since she first showed up on stage in the ’80s, you could always count on Madonna to get people talking. The queen of pop was also the queen of controversy, with unapologetically sexy on-stage looks that shocked audiences worldwide. Madonna birthed a fashion moment when she stepped on-stage for her Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990, sporting the iconic cone bra designed by Jean-Paul Galtier. This racy costume was inspired by a show-stopping combination of 1950s bullet bras and ‘80s underwear-as-outerwear street style.
Prince’s assless pantsuit, 1991
Prince was a style icon, wearing everything from ruffled collars to high heels, the pop, rock and R&B icon was a fashion risk-taker who never shied away from expressing his inner freak. Arguably one of his most audacious fashion choices was for one of his sexiest performances, performing Gett Off with The New Power Generation at the 1991 MTV VMAs. Prince performed in a show-stopping yellow jumpsuit which appeared to be fairly tame. That is until he turned around to reveal the cutouts that bared his naked derriere. Behind him, dancers dressed in underwear danced suggestively and provocatively like it was one big on-stage orgy.
Cher’s embellished biker bodysuit, 1992
From skimpy leather and barely-there beaded dresses to chiffon an sequins, Cher has been turning heads with her glamorous and risqué outfit choices for decades. In her early career, the goddess of pop would consistently exceed expectations with her daring fashion choices, showing more and more skin, time after time. While most of her looks were a little racy, her biker-esque torn body stocking and leather jacket that she wore for a 1992 performance of If I Could Turn Back Time look took Cher to new heights of sexiness.
Britney Spears carrying an albino python, 2001
Since she exploded onto the music scene in the late ’90s, Britney Spears has always had a reputation of turning heads, both on and off the stage. Britney was a sex symbol in every performance, with costumes that ranged from a diamond-studded naked bodysuit to skin-tight leather and fishnet stockings, and then there was the time she performed with an albino Burmese python draped over her shoulders at the 2001 MTV VMAs. Britney was strong, fierce and fearlessly sexy in bedazzled boy shorts and a green chiffon bralette, handling a seven-foot albino snake like it was a purring kitten.
Kylie Minogue’s barely-there silver two-piece, 2002
Kylie Minogue is the ultimate showgirl, she’s been killing it on stage in show-stopping get-ups for decades, from feathery headpieces to fluffy bodices and fishnets, the princess of pop knows how to make a sexy statement. One of her sexiest looks was for her world tour in 2002, when she went full hot robot, sporting a skimpy metallic twinset paired with thigh-high silver boots and futuristic arm cuffs.
Rihanna’s bondage-inspired bodysuit, 2011
If there’s anything Rihanna has proven to us in her career, it’s that she can do no wrong. She is just as much a fashion risk-taker as she is a musical hit-maker. Whether she’s stepping onto the red carpet in a sheer dress with nothing underneath or stepping onto the stage in nothing but lingerie, Rihanna is a bold, fearless and sultry fashion icon. One of Riri’s hottest on-stage looks was the all-white bondage-inspired bodysuit she wore for her performance of S&M at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, paired with fishnet stockings and complete with chained wrists.
Beyonce’s mesh bodysuit and caged corset, 2014
No list of sexy performers would be complete without Beyonce. You can always count on Queen Bey to bring the heat with provocative stage outfits that flaunt her voluptuous curves. Knowing what sassy styles best show off her trim waist and flawless legs, she frequently steps onto the stage donned in skimpy bodysuits, cut-out dresses, leather, lace, and sequins. One of her most show-stopping looks to date was for the opening performance of the 2014 Grammy Awards, where she performed Drunk In Love alongside her husband Jay Z. Dressed in a black mesh bodysuit and black fishnet stockings, layered with a caged bodice, wet hair, and a sultry gaze, she heated up the stage with one of her steamiest performances ever.