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18 Of The Most Iconic Dresses In The History Of Cinema

Ria Lawrence Ria Lawrence

18 Of The Most Iconic Dresses In The History Of Cinema

These outfits greatly impacted the fashion culture then and continue to do so now.

A good costume can really elevate a scene in a film, but a great costume stays with you as much as the film itself. Think Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch and your mind is bound to conjure an image of her iconic white dress blowing in the wind on the subway. Or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman in that stunning red gown. These sartorial choices are a work of art in themselves. We revisited some of our favourite classics to give you a rundown of some of the most iconic dresses to ever grace the big screen. (Feature image: Breakfast at Tiffany’s.)

1. Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Image: The Seven Year Itch

Marilyn Monroe, on virtue of being Marilyn Monroe, worked that seemingly simple white halter neck dress playfully in the wind and gave us one of the most iconic images in the history of pop culture.

2. Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Image: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Hepburn’s sophisticated black evening gown remains as relevant and popular today as it did back in 1961 when the movie first released. The dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy who was close friends with Audrey Hepburn.

3. Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (1990)

Image: Pretty Woman

The crimson red off-shoulder dress with the white gloves and the ruby-red diamond necklace remains an absolute classic. Simple though the look was, lacking in impact it certainly wasn’t.

4. Keira Knightley in Atonement (2007)

Image: Atonement

This green dress worn by Keira Knightley is an absolute knockout and unforgettable to this day. Zero surprise that it has been voted as the greatest movie costume of all time by a number of outlets.

5. Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct (1992)

Image: Basic Instinct

This minimalist number has served as an inspiration for a number of great fashion moments down the years. Stone’s famous interrogation dress is easily one of the most understated, yet sexiest costumes ever created on screen.

6. Liv Tyler in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Image: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Every scene with Liv Tyler’s character Arwen in Lord of The Rings features some of the most exquisite gowns and Elven garments which perfectly captured the dreamlike-fantasy world of her character’s arc especially this elegant blue gown.

7. Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing (1987)

Image: Dirty Dancing

Arguably one of most popular and raucous dance movies ever made, it’s both the aesthetic of the movie and the costumes that make it memorable. The final scene of the movie was that much more iconic thanks to Grey’s swishy pink dress. Does anyone put Baby in a corner? Not us.

8. Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997)

Image: Titanic

Kate Winslet’s beaded, chiffon number from Titanic is dramatic and classy. Fun fact: it’s often referred to as the ‘jump dress’ since she wears this dress when she and Leonardo Di Caprio’s character Jack jump off the ship.

9. Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

Image: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

The lush bare-back gown is the perfect shade of yellow but an unconventional colour to pull off. Nearly two decades later it’s still regarded as one of the all-time greats.

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10. Ingrid Berman in Casablanca (1942)

Image: Casablanca

Ingrid Berman’s wardrobe in Casablanca was a perfect embodiment of what made the 1930’s so unique when it comes to fashion. Sophisticated, elegant and glamourous, her clothes from the movie have remained a timeless sartorial reference especially this white dress and striped blouse number.

11. Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface (1983)

Image: Scarface

Pfeiffer’s slinky teal gown with the risqué plunging neckline oozes old world Hollywood glamour and remains as appropriate in fashion circles today as it did in 1983 when the movie released.

12. Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde (2001)

Image: Legally Blonde

Our Hero Elle Woods gave us an important lesson when it comes to personal style- Pink is perfect. Almost all her rosy-hued outfits in the movie are super memorable but this pink halter neck number remains a standout.

13. Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan (2002)

Image: Maid in Manhattan

This gorgeous pink chiffon gown has become an evening dress staple over the years and for good reason. The sweetheart neckline and the draped flowing skirt along with the crisscrossed bodice is timeless to say the least.

14. Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Image: The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada is as much a comfort, fun watch today as it was back when it released. The costumes too have stood the test of time especially this black Valentino number.

15. Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and The City (2008)

Image: Sex and The City

Most of Carrie Bradshaw’s outfits are memorable, but it’s the dramatic Vivienne Westwood wedding dress in Sex and the City, where Big leaves her jilted at the alter that remains absolutely exceptional. And who would’ve thought that a blue bird Patricia could work as a choice of accessory but here we are.

16. Emma Stone in La La Land (2016)

Image: La La Land

Stone’s peppy yellow dress has been replicated by women around the globe and continues to be much loved. It’s so effortlessly chic and retro that it almost makes us want to take a chance on the dubious colour.

17. Maggie Cheung in In the Mood for Love (2000)

Image: In the Mood for Love

They don’t make movies like this anymore. Every frame is more beautiful than the last and the same can be said about Cheung’s wardrobe. The rose-printed midi dress still makes an incredibly powerful statement.

18. Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief (1955)

Image: To Catch A Thief

Every dress is this movie was breathtaking but this delicate blue chiffon number stole the show in the movie and continues to be an absolute stunner.

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