Florence Pugh is speaking out about embracing women’s bodies one year after her nipple-baring sheer Valentino dress caused a stir on the red carpet.

“When everything went down with the Valentino pink dress a year ago, my nipples were on display through a piece of fabric, and it really wound people up,” the Oppenheimer actress, 27, said in an interview with Elle on Wednesday, August 29. “It’s the freedom that people are scared of; the fact I’m comfortable and happy. Keeping women down by commenting on their bodies has worked for a very long time. I think we’re in this swing now where lots of people are saying, ‘I don’t give a s–t.’”

Florence went on to further defend her dress, noting that people have become “so terrified of the human body that we can’t even look at my two little cute nipples behind fabric in a way that isn’t sexual.” 

“We need to keep reminding everybody that there is more than one reason for women’s bodies [to exist],” she added.

The backlash began in July 2022 when Florence arrived at the Valentino Haute Couture fashion show wearing a sheer Barbie pink gown with no bra underneath, leaving her breasts exposed. At the time, she reacted to the criticism with a lengthy Instagram post

“Listen, I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it. Whether it be negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing.

“I was excited to wear it, not a wink of me was nervous. I wasn’t before, during or even now after,” she wrote alongside photos of herself in the dress on July 10, 2022. “What’s been interesting to watch and witness is just how easy it is for men to totally destroy a woman’s body, publicly, proudly, for everyone to see. You even do it with your job titles and work emails in your bio..?”

Florence went on to say that it was “worrying” that “some of you men” could be so “vulgar.”

“Thankfully, I’ve come to terms with the intricacies of my body that make me, me. I’m happy with all of the ‘flaws’ that I couldn’t bear to look at when I was 14,” she added. “So many of you wanted to aggressively let me know how disappointed you were by my ‘tiny tits’, or how I should be embarrassed by being so ‘flat chested.’ I’ve lived in my body for a long time. I’m fully aware of my breast size and am not scared of it.”

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Marc Piasecki/WireImage

Despite the backlash Florence received online, she told Elle that “every woman [she] walked past” at the Valentino event “would say, ‘You look like you’re having so much fun.’ And I was!”

Florence never let the criticism get to her, and she even took the style a step further by rocking another sheer dress, this time in lavender, at the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter fashion show in July 2023. Her chest, torso and legs could be seen beneath the fabric. 

“Every single time I step out in Valentino, it’s like my armor,” she told Elle