Remarkable examples of flawless fashion have allowed so many of the world’s most famous ladies to turn heads and make moments that are long talked about. It is often through the women’s dresses that they wear when gracing the red carpet or shooting a scene for the big or small screen that helps to get them noticed, but which are the most iconic moments?
Here, we take a look at a selection of the most iconic and inspiring designer dresses. Not only that, we also provide tips on how you can replicate the look with dresses that can be bought on the high-street today…
So many generations will remember Marilyn Monroe for her off-screen endeavours, her beauty and her talent. However, which of the pop culture icon’s renowned outfits beats them all to be the most iconic? For most of us, seeing Monroe playfully pushing down the skirt of her white cocktail dress in the film, The Seven Year Itch, is an enduring image that sums up the actress’ spirit and appeal. The backless, sleeveless dress, designed by William Travilla, featured a below-the-knee skirt and halter-like bodice with a plunging neck — risqué for the 1950s. Striking the perfect balance between elegance and seductiveness, this outfit is still inspiring designers today and even sold at auction in 2011 for $4.6 million!
You must select a high-street dress with a ‘vintage party’ vibe if you’re going to embody the Monroe appeal with your fashion choices. This dress style has a distinctive time-honoured elegance to it, yet, it looks ideal for a fun girls’ night. Go for a pleated midi skirt or lace embellishment for a beautiful retro appeal, then update the look in the upper section. Monroe makes up for the modest skirt hemline by showing more shoulder and arms — do the same with a Bardot or plunge neckline and polish off your 1950s-inspired look with mid-heel sandals and a pretty, floral hair slide.
Cher showcased how to make an impact when appearing at the 1986 Academy Awards. The legend of music and film was asked to present the Best Supporting Actor award and made sure she wouldn’t be upstaged by the winner in a black, jewel-encrusted gown with matching plumed headpiece designed by Bob Mackie. Split into a hip-hugging skirt and criss-cross bralet, the outfit was captivatingly daring for an Oscars event and has gone down in film industry history as one of the most famous outfits ever.
Confidence will be very important if you’re going to get the essence of this amazing look just right. Show off your curves by pairing a black cami bralet with a long, side-split skirt or opt for a midriff cut-out maxi dress. Swap the plumed headwear for a diamante headband and add to the glamour with a pair of embellished, slingback heels. Cher wonderfully made her bold outfit perfect for the sophisticated Academy Awards by complementing her exposed midriff with a loose-fit jacket — get the same effect with a chiffon kimono.
There’s no doubting that Julia Roberts is one of film’s most celebrated women. After all, she has appeared in so many blockbuster movies and also has an Oscar win among her remarkable list of accomplishments. Obviously, the actress has donned many outfits during her on-screen time, but perhaps one of the most iconic costumes is the red, off-the-shoulder dress she wore with long, white evening gloves in Pretty Woman. Created by designer, Marilyn Vance-Straker, this scarlet column dress, featured a sweetheart neckline and sat elegantly off the shoulder to create a beautiful silhouette that looked innovative, yet timeless. So, how do you get the high-street version?
Feminine elegance is seen throughout this gown’s design. If you have a special occasion coming up, this style is ideal. Stick with the sweetheart neckline but opt for a shorter hemline or even an asymmetric skirt cut to tone down the formality. Pair with wrap-round heels and keep jewellery to a minimum — chokers look particularly good with this neckline and a simple, neutral-shade clutch will finalise the look perfectly. Wearing your hair up will help show off the outline of the dress, too.
By appearing at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000 wearing a green, silk chiffon gown, Jennifer Lopez caught the eye of so many people in attendance and who were watching across the globe. Designed by Donatella Versace, this stunning dress featured a jungle print and a daring, plunging neckline that opened all the way to the singer’s navel — secured with a sparkling green brooch. All over the world, people went wild for this innovative gown. According to former Google chairman, Eric Schmidt, it was the most popular search query ever and even led to the launch of Google Image Search! Described as a turning point in Versace’s career, emulating this flawless look is simple.
It doesn’t matter your body shape, you can showcase a beautiful, flowing silhouette in a silk chiffon dress. Select a style with a long-at-the-back hemline to show off your legs and recreate the daring-but-sophisticated appeal of the famous jungle dress — asymmetric cuts will also look good and make sure you choose a bold, eye-catching colour to stand out from the crowd. Tropical prints are popular this fashion season — although check and animal patterns also work well — while long-sleeves help create an elegant balance of exposed skin. Don’t feel you have to go as low at the front as J-Lo, though. Plunging necklines certainly inject a touch of glamour into an outfit, but you can get the same effect by going for a simple v-neck and enhancing your dress with statement jewellery and high heels to make sure you’re ready for a special evening.
No matter if it’s when she’s working on new music or her fashion choices, Beyoncé never seems to be anything but one step ahead of the rest. We couldn’t get enough of the sheer, bejewelled dress that Beyoncé wore at the Met Gala in 2015. Designed by Givenchy, the fitted, backless gown was awash with strategically-placed multi-coloured crystals and before slowing elegantly around her heeled feet.
There’s only so many times that you’ll be able to wear a see-through, crystallised dress and pull off the look mind. However, there’s no reason that you can’t enhance your wardrobe with something similarly extravagant. Concentrate on the embellishment of your gown to emulate the Beyoncé look — styles such as a diamante bodycon or metallic maxi dress will offer a similar, stand-out look that’s perfect for a night out. Instead of sheer or see-through, why not opt for a nude gown that you can pair with complementary bag and heels?
When Britney Spears appeared at the 2001 American Music Awards in a denim dress, the singer captured so much attention for all the right reasons. Back when Britney and Justin were possibly the most famous celebrity couple, the singer’s every fashion movement was scrutinised — and this is perhaps her most iconic. Styled and shaped like a ball gown, Spears’ sleeveless, floor-length dress featured a fitted bodice, metallic belt and even short train to give the impression of jeans-inspired formality. If you love denim or just like alternative takes on standard outfits, try getting the high-street version of this.
Choosing a pinafore or shirt-style dress in light-blue denim will be the perfect way to go if you’re hoping to tone down the formal part of this well-remembered look. Be sure to also use a waist belt to nip you in for a flawless figure outline. Get the ‘dressed up’ look on your next night out by selecting a fitted, mini style that you can pair with stilettos and accessories, or go for a black-denim, shift dress with thin straps for an alternative blend of low-maintenance denim and high-fashion style.
When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle earlier this year, 18 million people watched the wedding all across the UK. Many were tuning in to catch the first glimpse of the bride’s wedding gown. But in fact, Markle’s second outfit choice also got people talking. For the evening, the new bride opted for a silk crepe, sleeveless, high-neck gown designed by Stella McCartney that fell flawlessly over her petite frame — and it’s a style that many of us would love to have sitting in our own wardrobes.
Choose a halter-neck, sleeveless look and you’ll be able to elegantly show off your shoulders. This style works best when the skirt of your dress is midi or even maxi, to get the ideal level of skin exposure. Of course, you don’t have to stick to white. Purple is a big colour this fashion season and slipping on a pair of simple, mid-heels and only a few pieces of jewellery — perhaps droplet earrings and a small selection of matching rings — will let you harness the chic, understated vibe of this style. If you have a more casual event, go for a shorter skirt or one with a high/low frill hem.