15/12/2011 17:56 GMT | Updated 14/02/2012 05:12 GMT

Lipgoss: A Brief History of the Wardrobe Malfunction

It all started on 1 February 2004, when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson unleashed a beast upon an unsuspecting world.

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It all started on 1 February 2004, when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson unleashed a beast upon an unsuspecting world. After the notorious boob-flashing incident, which took place as Jackson and Timberlake performed a naff duet as part of the Super Bowl halftime show, Jackson's spokesman described the incident as "a malfunction of the wardrobe; it was not intentional. He was supposed to pull away the bustier and leave the red-lace bra", and, with that, the wardrobe malfunction was born.

Despite the performance being one of the least sexy things to ever happen in the world, ever, the renegade boob caused serious grief. MTV and CBS issued apologies, the Federal Communications Commission launched an investigation, CBS were fined $550,000 and the incident prompted tighter control over content by station owners and managers across the board.

Since 2004, as you know, the wardrobe malfunction has gone from strength to strength, and now has a well-deserved reputation as a minimal-effort way for a celeb to secure column inches, send a video viral and get their ass retweeted across the globe. (If you're enjoying this history lesson with famous boobs in, have a handy gallery of notorious overexposures.)

The principle of pseudo-accidental exposure is sound; you don't alienate prudish fans, because it was "just an accident", yet you get to flash your bits and score with the perves. If you're from Planet Normal, however, you'll immediately think of a million reasons why a staged wardrobe malfunction is the worst idea ever. After all, could there be anything less empowering than announcing you have no control over your own nipples?

In 2011, we're so familiar with the stunt (and the rude bits of D-Listers) that

we now consider any surprise flash of flesh to be an orchestrated PR stunt, prompting today's story on debating the veracity of shock on the face of a Chinese actress. Judging by the story's popularity, it seems our taste for a game of 'true or false' concerning surprise celebrity flesh is yet to be sated. There will be a whole lot more chicken fillets and flesh-coloured knickers coming our way in 2012.

Have The Beckhams Been Busted?

This week, David and Victoria Beckham have had to deny claims by a documentary-maker that they whinged about where they were seated in Westminster Abbey for the intimate marriage ceremony of Kate Middleton and Prince William.

Erm, who doesn't moan about where they're sitting at a wedding? There's always a fascinator feather blocking your view of the bride, and you're always too close to a screaming child. If they did whine, I've got their back.

Trend Alert: Celebrity Cruises

If you're still stuck for a Christmas gift idea for that special person you hate, may we suggest a ticket for R Kelly's 6-day Caribbean cruise, departing Miami in October 2012. Prices for Kelly's cruise range from $999 to $2999, with a $250 discount if booked before 17 December! "Join me as I sail away on my first annual Love Letter Cruise," Kelly tweeted yesterday, doing his little bit for global craziness.