Oscars fashion: A look at the biggest style hits in Academy Awards history
As the 88th Academy Awards approach, we bring you photos of the memorable looks from red carpets past
Unless you're a major movie buff, chances are you can't name which film won best picture at the Oscars in 2001 without Googling it.
You can probably remember who wore a swan around her neck to walk down the red carpet that year, though.
Awards show fashion has more of an effect on our memories, our culture and even our economy than many people realize. For some Oscars viewers, the red carpet is more important than the ceremony itself.
The 88th Annual Academy Awards are taking place this Sunday, no doubt ushering in a new, rainbow-coloured crop of gorgeous gowns for us to admire.
In preparation for this year's Oscars fashion spread, we took some time to reflect on the past.
Below are 10 of the most iconic looks from the Academy Awards in recent history based on critical acclaim, media attention and how long audiences continued to buzz after the show was done.
Apologies to the gentlemen of Hollywood who, while always dapper, somehow fail to make as much of a statement with their suits as actresses do with their annual parade of daring designer dresses.
(It was Gladiator that took home best picture in 2001, by the way.)
10. Angelina Jolie in Versace, 2012
It was the dress that launched a thousand tweets — as well as hundreds of news articles, dozens of Photoshop funnies and at least one parody Twitter account dedicated to Angelina Jolie's right leg. When the actress and her husband, actor Brad Pitt, arrived to the 84th Academy Awards in 2012, heads turned — but they always do. What nobody could have predicted was that Jolie's strapless black Versace gown would become a genuine internet sensation thanks to one high-cut slit.
9. Zoe Saldana in Givenchy Couture, 2010
Avatar star Zoe Saldana polarized the style set in 2010 with this straight-off-the-runway purple ombré gown by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy Couture. Some felt that it was a bit over the top, what with the sparkles, the colour gradation and the layers upon layers of ruffles. Others put Saldana at the very top of that year's best-dressed list, praising her for picking such a pretty and expressive gown. Regardless of the reaction, it stood out by leaps and bounds. It's been six years and we're still talking about it, right?
8. Nicole Kidman in Dior Couture, 1997
Australian actress Nicole Kidman took a bold risk with the colour of her bespoke Christian Dior Couture gown at the 69th Academy Awards. Fortunately, it paid off — and not just for her. "I was the new boy at the big House of Dior, and there were people who didn't think I would cut it," said designer John Galliano after Kidman's dress was deemed a fashion hit. "Nicole looked like a goddess and showed the world she believed in me … [she] trusted us and let us suggest a new direction and the striking chartreuse colour, which was controversial at that point because everyone was using primaries or pastels."
7. Michelle Williams in Vera Wang, 2006
Arriving on the arm of her then partner actor Heath Ledger, who died in 2008, actress Michelle Williams didn't win the best supporting actress award she'd been nominated for at the Oscars in 2006. Her vintage-inspired Vera Wang gown, on the other hand, brought home the honour of being that evening's most widely hailed style choice.
8. Bjork in Marjan Pejoski, 2001
Another name that continues to dominate conversations about Oscar fashion is that of Icelandic artist Bjork, who famously hit the red carpet ahead of 2001's Academy Awards ceremony in what appeared to be a swan costume. Created by Macedonian fashion designer Marjan Pejoski, her "swan dress" is currently on display at New York's Museum of Modern Art.
5. Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haut Couture, 2013
How does a Hollywood it-girl maintain the relatable image her fans love her for while wearing Dior Haute Couture? Trip on the train of that billowing, expensive gown as you accept your Academy Award for best actress. Jennifer Lawrence was the picture of elegance when she arrived at the Oscars in 2013, and thanks to a show-stopping fall while climbing on stage, she was the talk of the night as well.
4. Julia Roberts in Valentino, 2001
Speaking of American sweethearts, Julia Roberts still holds strong as an all-time Oscars fashion icon — particularly when people think of the vintage Valentino column gown she wore to accept her Academy Award for Erin Brockovich in 2001. This simple black and white dress has been credited for helping to popularize vintage clothing in the 2000s, and its Italian designer has said that seeing Roberts wear it to the Oscars was the high point of his 45-year career.
3. Lupita Nyong'o in Prada, 2014
Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o epitomized Tinseltown glamour at the Oscars in 2014 with a look that was classic, yet stunning in its execution. The Yale grad, who won best supporting actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave, indulged photographers by swishing and swaying around in her floaty chiffon skirt all night — and the world was grateful to watch that ethereal Prada gown in action.floaty chiffon skirt all night — and the world was grateful to watch that ethereal Prada gown in action.
2. Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph Lauren, 1999
Pretty in pink was the name of the game for Shakespeare in Love star Gwyneth Paltrow at the 71st Academy Awards in 1999. From her red carpet entrance to the tearful acceptance speech she gave after receiving the Oscar for best actress, Paltrow, then 26, commanded every eye in the house with her Ralph Lauren gown and princess-perfect styling.
1. Halle Berry in Elie Saab, 2002
In 2002, Halle Berry became the first black woman to win an Oscar for best actress thanks to her work in Monster's Ball. The achievement, as well as the actress's performance itself, were celebrated widely that year, but the sheer-bodice Elie Saab dress Berry wore that evening tops new lists of history's most iconic red carpet looks to this day.