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The most iconic Oscar dresses of all time


Since its inauguration in 1929, the Oscars has been eagerly watched by devoted cinephiles but, over the years, it has also become one of the most-anticipated events for fashion aficionados.

Among Hollywood’s brightest stars walking the red carpet in front of millions of viewers, the strongest candidates set themselves up to be sartorially scrutinised and battle it out for the evening’s most hotly contested accolade; that of the best dressed.

From Audrey Hepburn’s timeless take on formal dressing in the 50s to the fully-fledged glamour of the likes of Nicole Kidman in the 90s and today’s dazzling ensembles from Lupita Nyong’o and Emma Stone, the Academy Awards provides the perfect platform for A-listers and designer brands alike to celebrate the symbiotic relationship between film and fashion.

In recent years, awards season has been dominated by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. However, while attendees were encouraged to come together in support of the movements via all-black ensembles at the Golden Globes and the Baftas, no such dress code was issued at the Oscars.

The 94th Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday 28 March, heralding the end of awards season.

Ahead of this year’s ceremony, we’ve rounded up our pick of Oscar outfits that have earned a special place in fashion history above.

Audrey Hepburn, 1954

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To receive the award for Best Actress at the 1954 Academy Awards, Audrey Hepburn wore a white lace gown by Hubert de Givenchy. This was the first time that she wore the designer off-screen and he remained her favourite designer throughout her life.

Grace Kelly, 1955

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Grace Kelly wore a pale blue dress by Edith Head to receive the Best Actress Oscar for The Country Girl in 1955. The star accessorised the gown with rosebuds in her hair.

Liz Hurley, 1995

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A year after wearing that safety-pinned Versace dress, Liz Hurley wore a similarly show-stopping gown by the same designer.

Gwyneth Paltrow, 1999

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Not only did Gwyneth Paltrow cement her status as Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love in 1999, but she also gave us one of the most memorable dresses in Oscar fashion history designed by Ralph Lauren.

Nicole Kidman, 1997

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Attending the 1997 Oscars with Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman wore a bespoke Christian Dior Couture gown in chartreuse. The striking dress was designed by the recently appointed creative director John Galliano.

Julia Roberts, 2001

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Julia Roberts accepted her Best Actress Oscar for Erin Brockovich in 2001 wearing a monochrome Valentino gown.

Halle Berry, 2002

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In 2002, Halle Berry walked the Oscars red carpet wearing a semi-sheer floral gown designed by Elie Saab. The actor became the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball.

Charlize Theron, 2004

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Charlize Theron accepted her award for Best Actress for Monster in 2004 wearing a shimmering gold Dior gown.

Cate Blanchett, 2005

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In 2005, Cate Blanchett collected her award for Best Supporting Actress in The Aviator wearing a pale yellow Valentino gown with a contrasting maroon belt.

Penelope Cruz, 2007

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Penelope Cruz wore a voluminous blush pink gown designed by Atelier Versace at the 2007 Academy Awards.

Amy Adams, 2008

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Amy Adams wore an emerald green-coloured gown by Proenza Schouler to the 2008 Oscars. The dress featured a corseted bodice and fishtail skirt.

Jennifer Lawrence, 2013

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To collect her award for Best Actress in 2013, Jennifer Lawrence wore a pale pink Dior ballgown. The actor famously tripped in the dress as she made her way on to the stage.

Michelle Williams, 2006

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Michelle Williams wore a saffron-coloured Vera Wang to the 2006 ceremony. The actor attended with her then-boyfriend, the late Heath Ledger, who was nominated for his role in Brokeback Mountain.

Meryl Streep, 2012

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Meryl Streep wore a gilded wrap dress by Lanvin in 2012 as she accepted the award for Best Actress for her role in The Iron Lady.

Angelina Jolie, 2012

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Wearing an Atelier Versace dress, Angelina Jolie’s stance on the red carpet spawned a flurry of memes in 2012 thanks to the gown’s thigh-high split.

Lupita Nyong’o, 2014

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While it is hard to choose just one dress that embodies Lupita Nyong’o’s ascent to style icon, this custom Prada dress in “Nairobi blue” in honour of where she grew up in Kenya just tops the list. The actor wore the gown to collect her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 12 Years A Slave in 2014.

Keira Knightley, 2015

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Pregnant Keira Knightley dressed her baby bump in a dreamy Valentino dress for the 2015 Academy Awards.

Emma Stone, 2015

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La La Land actor Emma Stone wore a beaded Elie Saab gown in pale shades of green which perfectly complimented her porcelain skin and red hair.

Saoirse Ronan, 2018

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In 2018, Saoirse Ronan attended the Oscars wearing a pastel pink Calvin Klein by Appointment gown, which featured a dramatic bow and train.

Margot Robbie, 2018

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After being announced as the newest Chanel ambassador, Margot Robbie wore a couture gown by the fashion house to walk to red carpet in 2018.

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