It's the stuff of nightmares, a wardrobe malfunction in epic public view.
But Jennifer Lawrence appeared to take the calamity in her stride at today's Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The Silver Linings Playbook actress seemed to rip her midnight blue Christian Dior gown as colleagues hugged her near her dinner table, the midnight blue silk visibly coming apart at the thigh.
At nearby tables, Marion Cotillard and Nicole Kidman both appeared to witness the mishap, their faces a mix of sympathy and amused shock - though there was little the actress could do but take to the stage.
By the time the 22-year-old winner of the best actress gong had reached the dais, a gaping split showed the skirt had all but detached from the gown, exposing a sheer lining.
Holding the fabric carefully, Lawrence kept her cool as she received her award, with few in the auditorium the wiser - leaving it up to the world's TV cameras to give the game away.
Whether the dress had originally been designed to include a sheer panel, or had been altered at the last minute, Dior's couture creations are not known for poor workmanship - even in the path of an errant heel or overzealous congratulatory hug.
Later photos show the actress once again looking ship-shape - no doubt the result of the army of supporting staff waiting in the wings.
It was possibly the last thing the actress needed, her night already marred by the pneumonia she has been laid low with.
But a win wasn't to be overshadowed by illness or frock shocks, Lawrence’s crowd-pleasing speech hailed as "hilarious" by Twitter fans - including high praise from fellow actress Kirstie Alley, who tweeted: "Jennifer Lawrence...you are the real thing."
- Sydney Morning Herald