Best Oscar Dresses Of All Time, From Audrey Hepburn To Lupita N’yongo


The Academy Awards are around the corner, and while we wait to see who swoops the best actor and actress gongs, all eyes will be on the red carpet to see the best Oscar dresses…

Most expensive Oscar dresses

Go big or go home as they say, and when we say big, we mean several million dollars big, which is the estimated cost of the Dior gown Jennifer Lawrence wore to pick up her Best Actress gong in 2013. The dress was rumoured to be worth $4m, and that’s likely to be the cost of the dress itself (depending on the level of embroidery and detail, they can come with a six figure price tag), as well as the contract J-Law signed with Dior.

Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman was paid $2m to wear a Dior dress back in 1997. Also up there were Lupita Nyong’o’s $150k pearl-encrusted Calvin Klein dress which was famously stolen from her hotel room in 2015, and Cate Blanchett’s 2007 Swarovski crystal Armani Privé gown, which was worth $200k – see our full round-up of the most expensive Oscar dresses of all time here.

Oscars dress code

Technically, the dress code for the Oscars is ‘black tie’ formal which would involve a black tux for men and ballgowns for women, though it has become less strict over the years, with men opting for colours like blue and pink (we’re looking at you Jared Leto and Timothee Chalamet), and women going for shorter lengths, and sometimes even suits.

Best Oscar dresses ever

At the first ever Oscars, it was an iconic moment when waif-like Audrey Hepburn won the Best Actress trophy for her role in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. Her dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy and the actress went on to become his muse. The delicate flowers adorning the fabric seemed to chime with her elfin features. The look was innocent, yet striking and sexy and won her hearts all over the fashion industry.

In 1995, a year after wearing THAT safety-pinned Versace dress to the premiere of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Liz stepped out once again on the arm of Hugh Grant. This time she was wearing a slightly less out-there affair, a beautiful embellished gown (with the requisite plunging neckline still in place of course).

Nicole Kidman has turned heads in iconic dresses at a number of Oscar ceremonies, from shimmering gold gowns to red bow-embellished dresses. The likes of Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez all wore some incredible pieces that have landed them in our round-up of the best Oscar dresses of all time.

Fast-forward to 2013 and Amy Adams get it very right in a feathered Oscar de la Renta design and 2014 was Jennifer Lawrence’s time to shine. She picked a Dior floor-sweeper that was incredibly flattering to her trim hourglass curves.

In 2015 and 2016, there were sequins, ruffles and feathers galore, with Emma Stone and Emily Blunt shimmering in Elie Saab and Prada respectively.

Then there was of course the pandemic, forcing the event to get cancelled altogether, or reduced to a few well clad guests. 2022 year marks the first proper return to the red carpet though, and we expect celebrities to truly embrace bold and colourful designs, to celebrate the joy of dressing up again.

How to watch the Oscars

The Oscars 2022 will air in the UK in the early hours of Monday 28th March, at 1am.

You can watch it here via Now TV, where you can currently get 50% off the Entertainment and TV package or opt for the 7 day free trial.



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