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Yellow can be a tricky shade to pull off even for the beautiful people, making Renée Zellweger’s ethereal vintage lemon-chiffon Jean Desses number an even bigger fashion win. She wore it to the 2001 ceremony with perfect partners - maximum bling and beachy hair - and had us at hello.
And speaking of yellow, Michelle Williams had red-carpet watchers frantically Googling ‘marigold’ after she strolled into the 2006 Oscars draped in artful ruffles by Vera Wang. Paired with a red lip - and a nomination for best supporting actress in Brokeback Mountain – she struck fashion gold.
The fair lady’s fashion oeuvre offers a timeless masterclass in How To Get it Right Every Time, so it’s no surprise that Audrey Hepburn’s belted, full-skirted Givenchy number knocked it out of the park with her classic grace in 1954. She wore it to accept the best actress award for Roman Holiday and, presumably, to show off the world’s tiniest waist.
(The Associated Press)
Though the photo is black and white, rest assured that Grace Kelly didn’t blend into the background at the 1955 ceremony. Her drapey silk Edith Head dress was actually a delicious shade of mint green. (Oh, and she took home the best actress statuette for The Country Girl.)
(The Kobal Collection/AP)
A collective gasp went out from the fashion world when Cate Blanchett rolled up to the 2011 awards in Givenchy that provided her with some haute armour in the form of a beaded chest cameo. The dress proved polarizing, landing her on as many best-dressed lists as worst-dressed. That’s couture for you.
Ok, so maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s elitist macrobiotic Martha Stewart tendencies rub you the wrong way, but that Tom Ford dress she wore to the 2012 ceremony makes a strong case for clean living. And Pilates. It’s body-groping, graceful and there’s a cape. Also, has anyone looked terrible in Tom Ford ever?
Sharon Stone was elevating fast fashion before it was a thing, as evidenced in her mixing up Vera Wang and Armani with a black sweater from the Gap at the 1996 Oscars. At the time, wearing Gap (much less a mock neck!) on the red carpet was as risqué as that eye-popping scene in Basic Instinct (you know the one).
Nicole Kidman wasn’t just a consolation trophy for Tom Cruise in 1997 (he was nominated for Jerry Maguire; he didn’t win). She’s the woman who launched a retail empire by donning this Dior Chinoiserie stunner at that year’s ceremony. That was John Galliano’s first year at the house’s helm and her endorsement helped the brand reach cult status. Let’s see if she can do it again for the designer’s eventual comeback.
In 2010, Carey Mulligan minted her status as breakout star for her Oscar nominated turn in An Education. It also cemented her as a progressive fashion doll, thanks to multiple appearances in Vogue, a bleached pixie haircut and the avant-garde Prada dress she wore to that year’s Oscars. We love that she eschewed sequins for a dress encrusted with spoons and skeleton keys.
There’s no way that Julia Roberts was going to let anyone else get a shot at stealing her 2003 Oscar spotlight. When she won that year for Erin Brockovich, she did it in a vintage one-off Valentino dress, basically guaranteeing that no other actress or moneyed shopper could ever copycat that moment. That’s what happens when you’re the world’s biggest movie star, guys.