Iconic Red Carpet Dresses

Met Gala, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.

Although red carpet events recognize renowned actresses for breaking ground in leading roles and making us cry at all the right moments, these events have also become known for fashion and the gowns often crafted solely for these events. Over the years the red carpet has become a catwalk for designer brands to show off their creations on celebrities. The red carpet has definitely seen its fair share of hits and misses when it comes to fashion, but that’s exactly what keeps audiences tuning in year after year. Read below for 30 unforgettable red carpet gowns.

28. Marion Cotillard — 2013 BAFTAs

No one could forget this sunny yellow look worn by Marion Cotillard on the 2013 BAFTA’s red carpet. The dress was a flattering column-style cut but featured a dramatic billowing detail on the hip that really brought the red carpet glamour. She topped the look with a string of diamonds around her neck and a pop of cherry red on her lips.

Source: Shutterstock

27. Kate Middleton — 2011 BAFTAs

One of Kate Middleton’s most glamorous red carpet moments was when she stepped out at the 2011 BAFTA awards wearing this floor-sweeping lavender gown. The Alexander McQueen number complimented her sunkissed skin and glossy brunette tresses perfectly.

Source: Press Association

26. Emma Stone — 2017 Oscars

One of Emma Stone’s most memorable fashion moments is when she attended the 2017 Oscars wearing this Givenchy haute couture gown. The dress featured gold Swarovski crystal embroidery on the bodice as well as ombre crystal fringe along the skirt.

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

25. Rihanna — 2013 Grammys

Rihanna looked absolutely beautiful on the 2013 Grammys red carpet when she rocked this sheer crimson gown designed by Azzedine Alaïa. From the soft, floating tulle along the skirt to the subtle cutouts along the bodice, this look screamed Hollywood glamour.

Photo by Broadimage / Rex Features

24. Mila Kunis — 2011 Oscars

The look Mila Kunis wore to the 2011 Academy Awards definitely generated quite a bit of buzz following the event! The eye-catching lavender number was designed by Ellie Saab and featured a chiffon texture, tiered lace detailing and a flattering ribbon which tied around the waist. We absolutely love the whimsical, romantic feel of this feminine gown and the soft purple color was striking against Mila’s dark features and hair.

Jef Hernandez/Everett Collection

23. Beyonce — 2015 Met Gala

Beyonce is a Met Gala all-star and is arguably the most anticipated guest in attendance. She always steps out in an outfit that is out of the box and little risky, which is also exactly why they are so iconic! This particular look from the 2015 Met Gala featured a body-hugging sheer material with strategically placed crystal embellishment throughout. A look like this would seem quite bizarre for anyone else and on any other occasion, but Beyonce looked like the Queen she is and looked fiercer than ever.

Photo By: Gregorio T. Binuya/Everett Collection

22. Nicole Kidman — 2007 Oscars

Nicole Kidman was an absolute showstopper at the 2007 Academy Awards where she stepped out wearing a sleek cherry red gown by Balenciaga. The floor-sweeping gown was relatively simple, but it fit her like a glove and brought the red carpet glamour factor with the oversized bow on the shoulder.

Rex Feature Ltd.

21. Kendall Jenner — 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Kendall Jenner took the Cannes Film Festival by storm in 2018 with quite a few notable fashion moments! Our favorite, however, is this dreamy tiered number designed by Schiaparelli which featured dramatic ruffling along the shoulders and a semi-sheer tulle fabric throughout. This daring ensemble looked striking on her tall, slender figure and definitely made heads turn at the screening of Girls Of The Sun. 

Photo by David Boyer/ABACAPRESS.COM

20. Kate Middleton — 2019 BAFTAs

The Duchess of Cambridge absolutely nailed her 2019 BAFTA’s red carpet look in this whimsical and floaty dress. The Duchess always looks gorgeous at the BAFTAs each year and 2019 was no exception. We love the frilly shoulder detail of this dress which was the perfect example of glamour without going overboard with heavy embellishment.


19. Gigi Hadid — 2018 Met Gala

Gigi Hadid made a grand entrance at the 2018 Met Gala where she walked the red carpet wearing this sheer navy and gold dress designed by Versace. The look was a literal work of art and designed to mimic the beauty of a stained-glass window with its patterned paneling and shimmering colors. She looked completely ethereal and glowing, especially with her voluminous hairstyle and smoked out navy eye makeup.

Photo by Lionel Hahn/ABACAPRESS.COM

18. Gwyneth Paltrow — 1999 Oscars

At the 1999 Academy Awards, Gwyneth Paltrow walked the red carpet wearing a pink taffeta Ralph Lauren gown, which featured a V-shaped neckline and a voluminous skirt. Although some people criticized the dress because it wasn’t properly tailored, overall, it has been remembered as one of the greatest dresses ever worn on the Oscar’s red carpet and Paltrow was credited for bringing pink back in style.

17. Halle Berry — 2002 Oscars

Halle Berry wore an Elie Saab dress to the 2002 Academy Awards that was definitely one of her most memorable looks ever. The top of the dress was made of mesh with some strategic embroidering over the chest and a maroon colored satin skirt. It’s considered one of the greatest Oscar dresses of all time because it was edgy and revealing, but at the same time left a lot to the imagination.

16. Cardi B — 2019 Grammys

Cardi B stepped out at the 2019 Grammy awards wearing a look that we can’t help but call iconic. The singer required a five-person entourage to help carry her dramatic Grammys look onto the red carpet, which was quite memorable. The look was inspired by a pearl-and-oyster clam which featured an upturned pink satin skirt and shimmering nude bodysuit. She topped the look with gloves and pearls around her neck and in her hair.


15. Lupita Nyong’o — 2014 Oscars

Lupita Nyong’o was a red carpet newbie when she stepped out at the Oscars back in 2014! She clearly knew how to make an impact and opted for a powder blue Prada gown that looked absolutely stunning on her. At the time, Nyong’o divulged that she picked the color specifically because it reminded her of her home, Nairobi. The pleated gown featured an elegant drop-style neckline and a full skirt which was completely glamorous, especially when topped with the sparkling diamond headband.

Photo By: Gregorio Binuya/Everett Collection

14. Elizabeth Hurley — 1994 Film Premiere

Hugh Grant stepped out for the premiere of his film Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994 with his date Elizabeth Hurley on his arm. Little did Hurley know that this night would change her career forever all because of her choice of a little black Versace dress! Her look featured a plunging neckline, thigh-high slit and a bodice held together with oversized gold safety pins. Years later she admitted that her choice of dress dictated the course of her career and hindered her ability to be cast in any mature, serious roles.

Tim Rooke/REX

13. Rose Byrne — 2009 Emmys

The sparkling Valentino gown that Rose Byrne wore to the 2009 Emmys looked absolutely stunning on her! The bodice was encrusted in silver sparkles that scattered throughout the entire skirt and was featured alongside a twist detailing which made the design of this dress ultra flattering. The full skirt and plunging neckline added tons of Hollywood glamour, making this fashion moment stand out as iconic.

Photo by PicturePerfect / Rex Features

12. Bjork — 2001 Oscars

How could we forget Bjork’s infamous swan dress from the 2001 Oscars? The Icelandic singer donned a feathered frock by Marjan Pejoski with no shame and this eccentric creation has undeniably landed her on many worst dressed lists over the years. We’ve seen tasteful feathers on dresses throughout red carpet history, but never before had we seen a full blown bird worn as a gown.

Photo By STEWART COOK / Rex Features

11. Blake Lively — 2014 Met Gala

Blake Lively stunned on the red carpet in a rose gold Gucci gown at the 2014 Met Gala. The entire dress was covered in blush colored palliates and the unique train hanging from Lively’s shoulders made this dress different than any other glittering gown we’ve seen on the red carpet. The ultra-flattering mermaid cut, in addition to her old Hollywood inspired waves, took our breath away as she elegantly graced the red carpet.

Photo by MediaPunch/REX

10. Gwyneth Paltrow — 2012 Oscars

Gwyneth Paltrow looked angelic in a Tom Ford straight cut ivory gown at the 2012 Academy Awards. The simple one-shoulder neckline paired with a classic cape draped gracefully over her shoulders made this dress minimal yet memorably elegant and extremely flattering.

Photo By: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

9. Sandra Bullock — 2010 Oscars

Sandra Bullock wowed at the 2010 Academy Awards in a slim fit metallic Marchesa gown. The sheer top laced with silver embroidery which flared into a sparkling skirt hugged Bullock’s body perfectly. Her glossy side-swept hair paired with magenta pink lipstick made the star look amazing as she was awarded her well-deserved Best Actress trophy.

Photo by BDG / Rex Features

8. Jennifer Lopez — 2000 Grammys

How could we possibly forget J.Lo’s interesting choice of gown at the 2000 Grammys award show? Not only did the Hawaiian-inspired print distract our eyes, but the extremely low cut plunge neckline definitely caught us off guard from the typical red carpet ensemble. Whether you love it or hate it, J.Lo undoubtedly took a huge risk this night in her fashion decision and years later people still remember this emerald green dress as an iconic red carpet moment.

Source: Shutterstock

7. Nina Dobrev — 2011 Emmys

There’s something about a simple red dress that screams glamour and Nina Dobrev turned heads in this mermaid cut scarlet gown at the 2011 Emmys. Although crimson tends to be a risky color to wear on the red carpet for the same reason that redheads shy away from wearing the color, Dobrev undoubtedly stood out this evening with her form-fitting Donna Karan gown.

Photo by Picture Perfect / Rex Features

6. Olivia Wilde — 2009 Golden Globes

The pale purple Reem Acra gown that Olivia Wilde rocked at the 2009 Golden Globes was one of the most flattering dresses in red carpet history. Her dress consisted of intricate layering throughout the bodice and flourished into an extravagant skirt that had texture in all the right places, making this star shine on the red carpet. The lavender color paired perfectly with the olive undertones of Wilde’s complexion.

Photo by: Tony Gonzalez/Everett Collection

5. Zoe Saldana — 2016 Met Gala

In yet another feathered red carpet moment, the fashion-forward diva Zoe Saldana rocked a peacock-inspired gown by Dolce & Gabanna on the Met Gala red carpet in 2016. The dress featured an extremely long train completely covered in brightly colored feathers against a black lace corset bodice. The feathered gown felt whimsical and fairytale-like and we could not take our eyes off her as she flounced around in this intricate dress on the red carpet.

Arroyo-OConnor/Press Association

4. Kate Hudson — 2003 Oscars

The detailed chiffon Versace gown that Kate Hudson donned at the 2003 Oscars was simply stunning. This golden dress took 500 hours to create and was intricately crafted with hand-made silk. The small details of this dress are what made the ensemble iconic: mermaid cut, sheer shoulder cuffs, and vintage-inspired jewels.

Photo by ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

3. Audrey Hepburn — 1954 Oscars

An iconic dress list wouldn’t be complete without the addition of the woman who single-handedly turned the “little black dress” into an icon. Audrey Hepburn graced the red carpet in 1954 in her usual classy fashion wearing a Hubert de Givenchy white patterned dress that was belted at the waist to flatter her petite frame.

Source: Everett Collection

2. Hilary Swank — 2005 Oscars

Before the bare-backed dress became mainstream, Hilary Swank strutted her stuff down the red carpet in an extremely low-cut backless Guy Laroche gown that definitely turned heads. The high neck, long sleeved gown was crafted from 27 yards of silk jersey. The simple navy dress was bold yet flattered Swank perfectly at the Academy Awards in 2005 landing her in many best-dressed lists for years after.

Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin/Courtesy Everett Collection.

1. Angelina Jolie — 2012 Oscars

Of all the memorable red carpet fashion moments, the top pick hands down goes to Angelina Jolie in her structured black Atelier Versace gown at the 84th Academy Awards. She proved once again why she is the ultimate sex symbol with her high-slit dress, red pout, and confident pose. This specific gown was so iconic that an entire Twitter account @AngiesRightLeg and countless memes were created to pay tribute to how stunning Jolie looked on the red carpet.

Photo By: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia loves all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. In her free time, she can be found taking yoga classes, reading thriller novels, and styling outfits on Instagram.