There is no getting around the reality that the fashion world is always evolving. Old trends can be changed into something new in a short period of time. What is largely in style this season will be out within the next year or two. Over the years, countless costumes have made their debuts on the red carpet and in movies, but only a select number have endured and left their stamp on the history of fashion.
Here are the ten most iconic outfits that defined the fashion evolution.
Princess Diana: Revenge Dress
Princess Diana wore this form-fitting, black minidress with an off-the-shoulder design in 1994 to a function at the Serpentine Gallery in London. No other royal has ever risked to wear that type of outfit. Since she wore the Christina Stambolian-designed dress the same night that Prince Charles' "tell-all" documentary aired, many referred to it as the "revenge dress." He confessed to having been unfaithful to her in it. Princess Diana's decision to wear this tiny black dress on this particular night may never be fully understood, but it will undoubtedly go down in fashion history.
Jennifer Lopez: Green Versace Dress
In 2000 at the 42nd Grammy Awards, Jennifer Lopez's stunning green dress—rather than the trophies—dominated the talk. The Donatella Versace-created gown had a plunging neckline that reached Lopez's waist and a flowing, island-inspired design. The outfit was so iconic that Lopez walked the catwalk in a modified version of it for Versace during Milan Fashion Week in 2019. The legendary outfit served as inspiration for the creation of Google's image-search capability, according to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Julia Roberts: Red Gown from Pretty Woman
We all sighed in unison when Julia Roberts' prostitute Vivian appeared in the 1990 movie "Pretty Woman" wearing this crimson dress with a sweetheart neckline and long white gloves. Following that came the iconic scene in which Edward (played by Richard Gere) opens a box and shows Vivian the gorgeous necklace he'd borrowed for her to wear, then playfully clamps it shut when she starts to touch it. From that point on, everyone wanted to be Vivian, wearing that dress, with that dashing man gazing at her with absolute and utter adoration.
Marilyn Monroe: Subway Dress
Billy Wilder, the director of The Seven Year Itch, is unlikely to have known that Marilyn Monroe would strike a pose on the subway grate that would go on to become one of the most famous in popular cultural history. The film went on to become a huge hit as Monroe playfully managed the uplifting air beneath her pleated white halter dress. The "subway" dress, according to CNN, fetched more than $5.6 million at an auction in 2011.
Audrey Hepburn: Black Dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's
Almost everything Audrey Hepburn wore went viral, but none more so than this tiny black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's, when she played Holly Golightly. One of several ensembles Hubert de Givenchy created for the actress with Belgian roots, this black cocktail dress was just given a modern makeover at the Givenchy Couture autumn 2018 presentation.
Marilyn Monroe: Sheath Dress
When Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday" to John F. Kennedy, she donned a lavish full-length evening sheath dress adorned with rhinestones. After she wore it, all subsequent "transparent clothes" were modeled after it. Her skin tone matched the color of the garment. The flesh-colored marquisette fabric of Marilyn Monroe's outfit was embellished with 2,500 glistening rhinestones. Marilyn had to be sewed into the garment since it was so tight.
Keira Knightley: Green Dress from Atonement
Fashion designer Jacqueline Durran created the emerald green silk gown worn by Keira Knightley as Cecilia Tallis in a pivotal scene in the 2007 film Atonement, which is perhaps one of the most famous on-screen outfits of all time. Despite the fact that the movie is set in the 1930s and 1940s, Durran included aspects of both 1920s and 1930s design to create a garment that symbolized the "heightened beauty" of the narrative, which is recounted via the recollections of Cecilia's younger sister, Bryony.
Angelina Jolie: Thigh Slit Black Gown
Although Angelina Jolie's black, velvet Atelier-Versace dress was famous in and of itself, the most enduring aspect of this ensemble was perhaps the way she stood with her right leg extending out in just the right way. People created Twitter accounts specifically for Jolie's right leg in response to this picture-perfect moment, which sparked a variety of jokes and memes. Although this was neither the first nor the last time the actress donned this look, it is unquestionably one of the most iconic.
Elizabeth Taylor: Golden Cape from Cleopatra
It was 1963, and the year's most seductive actress at the moment, Elizabeth Taylor, appeared in the film "Cleopatra." There she wore the most elaborate outfit ever created for a movie. The shimmering cloak with phoenix-inspired design was crafted from gold leather strips and covered with numerous sequins and beads. Despite the fact that the cost of such expensive clothes contributed to the movie running well over budget, costume designer Renie Conley was awarded the Academy Award for best costume design. A whole generation was inspired by Liz's golden cloak and matching gown to glam up their own outfits, and by 1964, Cleopatra-like jewelry, headpieces, and costumes were standard fare in the world of fashion.
Kate Winslet: Jump Dress from Titanic
The beaded, chiffon outfit worn by Kate Winslet in Titanic is elegant and dramatic. This dress is one of the absolute favourites by Deborah Lynn Scott, whose Titanic costumes won an Academy Award. Early 20th-century high fashion was all the rage for this heavily beaded garment, which is still fashionable today. Fun fact: it's known as the "jump dress" since she wore it when she and Leonardo Di Caprio's character Jack jumped off the ship.
Jennifer Grey: Pink Dress from Dirty Dancing
It is debatably one of the most famous and rowdy dance movies ever produced, and what makes it unforgettable are both the aesthetics and the outfits. Thanks to Grey's swishy pink outfit, the movie's last scene became even more iconic. This dress, a sleeveless, knee-length piece with a slightly flared skirt, is instantly recognizable and perfectly embodies the attitude of the saying "nobody puts Baby in the corner."
Elizabeth Hurley: Safety-pin-secured Black Dress
At the 1994 premiere of "Four Weddings and a Funeral," featuring her date, Hugh Grant, English actress Elizabeth Hurley attracted heads in her sultry, safety-pin-fastened black dress. The outfit had such an impact that it was simply referred to as "THAT dress."