Audrey Hepburn was a close friend of the designer Hubert de Givenchy, who created this white dress with a floral pattern and a tight belt for her for the 1954 Academy Awards. Time magazine voted it the most iconic Oscar dress of all time, Hepburn herself called it her “lucky dress” as she won for her work in Roman Holiday. Click through this learning for several photos of the dress from when it was up for auction, as well as more information about the actress and her famous dress.
In 1955, Grace Kelly stunned at the Academy Awards in an ice-blue satin dress and matching evening coat designed by Paramount studio costumer Edith Head–who attended the ceremony as Kelly’s date. The dress was created for the premiere of the movie for which Kelly won, “The Country Girl,” and was cut from a bolt of $4,000 French satin.
Barbra Streisand, 1969 (Scaasi)
This Arnold Scaasi bell-bottomed pantsuit was so sheer that apparently under the bright lights of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion you could see right through it! Streisand was lucky she thought to have it lined with nude-colored silk. Depending on how you look at it, this outfit was either a fun nod to the playful fashion of the era or a complete disaster. Regardless of personal preference it will always go down in history as one of the seminal Oscar looks.
For more from Edith Head, we fast-forward to 1970, when Elizabeth Taylor presented the Best Picture award to “Midnight Cowboy” wearing a violet gown with a plunging neckline. Considered one of Taylor’s most iconic fashion moments the dress matched the actress’s mesmerizing violet eyes. The 69- carat pear shaped diamond necklace, a gift from her husband Richard Burton, was originally purchased as a ring, “but even for me it was too big so we had Cartier design a necklace,” Taylor explained. Click above to watch her presenting the award.
Cher, 1986 (Mackie)
Arguably one of the most provocative Oscar outfits of all time, this midriff-bearing Bob Mackie look featured a beaded loincloth, black cashmere cape and mohawk-style headpiece made of hundreds of rooster feathers. Apparently Cher had to sit on the floor of the limo on her way to the ceremony as to not damage it.
Although Kidman was notorious for playing it safe with earlier red carpet looks, she took something of a fashion risk at the 1997 Oscars. This stunning acid green Christian Dior gown (known as Absinthe) featured a high slit and Asian influenced embroidery. 1997 was also John Galliano’s first year at Dior and it’s safe to assume he, along with this dress, helped cement Kidman as a new icon of couture.
As one of modern-day Oscar’s most iconic fashion moments, the year Paltrow won Best Actress for her work in Shakespeare in Lovewas also the year she catapulted herself onto the red carpet fashion scene. The simple ballgown design was created by Ralph Lauren from pink taffeta. References were made to Grace Kelly, and she was even credited for making pink cool again. Paltrow accessorized with her own jewels from Harry Winston, a 40-carat diamond necklace worth $160,000, that was a gift from her parents. The dress became an instantly recognizable part of pop culture and was spoofed at the following year’s Academy Awards when Matt Stone (co-creator of South Park) showed up in a pink spaghetti-strapped ensemble.
Bjork, 2001 (Pejoski)
Eccentric Icelandic songstress Bjork arrived to the 2001 oscars in the now infamous swan dress designed by Marjan Pejoski. The design is that of a full body stocking that was covered with a giant swan wrapping around her neck. The dress has been referenced in popular media many times since then but at the time was received with mixed reviews.
Julia Roberts, 2001 (Valentino)
2001 was a year of firsts for Roberts. She didn’t just pick up her first Oscar forErin Brockovich but she also was the catalyst to a new era of red carpet fashion- vintage couture. Her black 1982 Valentino gown with white ribbons and piping has a timeless beauty that is fabulous in any decade. Valentino himself has been recorded saying seeing Roberts in the dress was a highlight of his career.
In 2002, Halle Berry became the first black woman to win an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role. She also happened to make history for wearing one of the most stunning gowns of all-time a burgundy Elie Saab number with a sheer bodice embroidered with flowers. Click through for a video of her emotional acceptance speech.
In 2005, Hilary Swank won Best Actress Oscar for her role in Million Dollar Babywhile wearing a navy blue dress by designer Guy Laroche. When viewed head-on the high necked dress seemed very conservative, but when seen from behind, it dipped dramatcally low. Conceivably historic, this navy number is also one of those dresses with its own Wikipedia page.
Reese Witherspoon found her vintage 1955 Christian Dior dress while shopping in Paris. When she put the dress on it fit so perfectly not one alteration was needed. With a classic V-neck design and stunning metallic embellishments, the shop owner was reluctant to part with it as it had once belonged to a princess. Though she says she will never wear it again she hopes to one day give it to her daughter Ava.
Penelope Cruz, 2007 (Versace)
This gown from the 2007 Oscars red carpet blew everyone away. Her blush Atelier Versace gown defined red carpet drama, and landed the Spanish actress on nearly everyone’s best dressed lists. The bustier is made from silk chiffon and the dramatic skirt is silk chiffon, organza and tulle.
Heidi Klum, 2008 (Galliano)
The Victoria’s Secret model turned fashion TV host sizzled on the 2008 red carpet in a striking, fitted, red silk taffeta bustier gown with drape detail by John Galliano Haute Couture. The gown had a breathtaking high collar and sweeping train.
Marion Cotillard, 2008 (Gaultier)
Then still relatively unknown, the French actress chose a mermaid-like Jean Paul Gaultier couture gown to collect her Best Actress Oscar for La Vie en Rose. The dramatic fishtail shape with gold embellashiments in scale-like scalloping may have divided opinions at the time but is now considered the start of Cotillard’s much loved red carpet style.
Anne Hathaway, 2009 (Armani)
Though she didn’t take home the Oscar that night she did sparkle down the red carpet in a gorgeous mother-of-pearl iridescent paillette-laden Armani Privegown. The color beautifully illuminated her creamy skin and Hathaway gave the gown a personal touch by affixing an onyx and black crystal brooch to the back of the dress. It is now considered one of the best Oscar gowns of the decade.
Zoe Saldana, 2010 (Givenchy)
Wether you hate it or you love it Saldana’s Givenchy Couture gown goes down as one of the most iconic looks from the 2010 Academy Awards red carpet. Featuring varying shades of lavender, intricate rosettes and a sequined bodice, this show-stopper was created by designer Riccardo Tisci.
Mila Kunis, 2011 (Saab)
Another bold purple number, Kunis choose this Elie Saab Haute Coutre gown when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Black Swan.The delicate lavendar number perfectly complimented her dark coloring.
Angelina Jolie, 2012 (Versace)
This dramatic dark velvet gown by Atlelier Versace was instantly made popular by the pose Jolie struck throughout the night. Her right leg spawned a flurry of controversy over the internet, receving both negative and positive attention.
Gwyneth Paltrow, 2012 (Ford)
This Tom Ford white dress with uber chic cape was presented as part of his top secret Fall 2012 collection. A simple ponytail, barely-there makeup and silver jewels completed this flawless look.
Jennifer Lawrence, 2013 (Dior)
Everybody’s favorite, Jennifer Lawrence, wore a stunning blush Dior Couture gown for the 2013 Academy Awards. She was awarded Best Actress for her performance in Silver Linings Playbookand although she tripped on her gorgoes gown while walking up to accept the honor she still looked flawless.