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10 Iconic Gowns Worn by 10 Iconic Women

10 Iconic Gowns Worn by 10 Iconic Women

Written by Hannah Mae Webster

“It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

Throughout her career, Marilyn Monroe showcased an incredible array of stunning gowns. However, the jaw-dropping gown worn by Marilyn in 1962 as she sang ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President’ to John F. Kennedy, arguably remains her greatest gown of all. The sheer gown, complete with thousands of rhinestones, was custom-made by Jean Louis.

“I think that women can do anything they decide to do.” – Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly’s bridal style has served as major inspiration for countless brides around the world, with her classically elegant lace gown designed by costume designer Helen Rose.

Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 in the stunning yet modest lace gown, which featured a high neckline, three-foot long train, and thousands of pearls.

“I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.” – Princess Diana

One of the most iconic black dresses of all time has to be Princess Diana’s dramatic 1994 ‘revenge dress’. The daringly chic gown was designed by Christina Stambolian and featured a sweetheart, off-the-shoulder neckline. The gown became an iconic statement of power and inspired numerous future designs.

“Beauty is something you see. Love is something you feel.” – Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate’s beautiful mini wedding dress worn in 1968, just a year prior to her tragic death, will forever remain a bridal inspiration. The understated dress featured a high collar and Juliet sleeves, as well as ribbons, embellishments, and bows. The look was completed with dainty hair ribbons and bold eye makeup.

“Women are the real architects of society.” - Cher

Among many of Cher’s iconic and unforgettable fashion moments is this ‘naked dress’ worn to the 1974 Met Gala. The sheer, feathered gown was designed by Bob Mackie and made an incredibly daring statement, kickstarting future ‘naked’ illusion trends. The gown gained so much attention that Cher was featured wearing it on the cover of Time magazine.

“Look, you have to make mistakes. That’s how you learn and that’s how the world works.” – Naomi Campbell

This showstopper of a catsuit was modelled by Naomi Campbell as part of Azzedine Alaïa’s Autumn/Winter 1991 collection. Although not a gown, this powerful black leopard catsuit deserves a mention, as the dramatic ensemble captured the attention of many. Similar to Cher’s ‘naked dress’, Naomi Campbell expertly pulled this look off with a gorgeous shade of lipstick and a smirk. 

“The older I get the more I try not to waste my time on negative energy.” – Christine Baranski

The always iconic Christine Baranski introduced a sensational all-black velvet ensemble to the 1997 Golden Globe Awards red carpet. The strapless mermaid gown and gloves were seemingly inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s pink gown worn in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, as even the gloves with bracelets are reminiscent of Marilyn’s look. Christine amplified her look by accessorising with black sunglasses and a dark lipstick.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn

Whilst Audrey Hepburn’s famous style has featured many spectacular gowns, this awe-inspiring strapless dress worn to the British Academy Film Awards in 1955 is perhaps more underrated and deserving of attention. The dress perfectly accentuated Audrey’s figure, highlighting her waist, whilst remaining simple, to emphasise her beauty, rather than overshadow it.

“I think it’s always best to be who you are.” – Halle Berry

Halle Berry has flaunted her incredible, effortless style throughout the years, yet this simple, figure-hugging gown worn to the 1995 SAG awards is a major style highlight. Halle even kept the accessorising to a bare minimum yet pulled off a truly phenomenal look.

“If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously.” – Cate Blanchett

There is no question of Cate Blanchett’s status as red-carpet queen, however this backless Jean Paul Gaultier gown worn to the 2000 Oscars, powerfully proves the point. The glorious gown featured a simple front with drama in the back, through the draped jewelled pieces, complemented by the gold arm cuff and bangle.

“It is always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone’s forgotten” – Anna Wintour

Whilst Anna Wintour’s style has always been impeccable, throwbacks to her 90s fashion moments present an even more daring and bold element to her style. A key example is this silver sequined mini dress, paired with a matching neckpiece. The dazzling disco-ball of a dress is the perfect symbol of her power.


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