The Most Memorable Red Carpet Dresses Of All Time

Let’s face it, the best part of any award show, gala, or movie premiere is seeing what Hollywood’s biggest stars are wearing. Personal stylists spend weeks ahead of time making sure their celebrity is turning heads on the red carpet for all the right reasons. Over the years, the style choices of the stars have resulted in a sort of miniature Red Carpet Hall of Fame.

These looks are memorable, but not always for a good reason. Read on to see which stars have stunned and which celebrities have shocked us on the red carpet. The riskier the look, the better.

Gwyneth Paltrow Was Sheer Beauty At The Iron Man 3 Premiere

Allen Berezovsky/WireImage/Barry King/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Gwyneth Paltrow walked the red carpet for the Iron Man 3 premiere in this barely-there Antonio Berardi dress. The perfection of this dress is that it managed to leave little to the imagination while still looking classy.

Paltrow was probably flying high after being named People’s most beautiful woman of the year, so she figured hey, why not show it all off? We hope to look this good when we’re a 40-year-old mother of two.

Jennifer Lopez’s Hemline Made Jaws Drop At The 2000 Grammys

Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

Speaking of leaving little to the imagination, J-Lo dropped her neckline real low at the Grammys back in 2000. She must have known the only way to ring in a new millennium was the come with the boldest look imaginable.

The now-infamous Versace dress was so shocking at the time that it helped spawn Google Images. Google executive Eric Schmidt said that the dress was a top search after the Grammys but they had no surefire way to give the people what they wanted.

Beyoncé Was A Floral Goddess At The 2015 Met Gala

Andrew H. Walker/James Devaney/Getty Images

Members of the Bey Hive will say that Beyoncé looks stunning in everything, but this sheer Met Gala dress went the extra mile. Bey arrived late to the Gala but made sure all the attention was on her and that iconic Givenchy dress.

From a purely fashionable point of view, the gown is absolutely stunning. The only problem was the Met Gala has a theme this year and critics argued her gown didn’t fit the “China: Through The Looking Glass” theme.

Keep reading to see two Lady Gaga looks that stunned us in two very different ways.

Rita Ora Went With Bold Curves At The Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Hubert Boesl/Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Rita Ora bared her booty for everyone to see at the 2015 Oscar after party and we were all grateful for it. Ora had performed at the Oscars that night in an equally stunning dress, but this all-black dress with sheer paneling takes the cake.

The 2015 Oscars were a night for sheer dresses though. Other stars like Irina Shayk and Heidi Klum showed just as much as (if not more than) Rita.

Who Could Forget Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress?

Kevin Winter/Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Back in 2010 when she wore this to the MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga was already known for her outlandish looks. But for many, this one was a step too far. Animal rights groups even criticized her for butchering meat for a dress.

Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress is definitely one of those red carpet looks that stunned us for all the wrong reasons, but it’s so iconic it is actually on display today at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Then She Turns Around And Stuns In A Normal Dress

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Back in the early part of her career, we’d all wait around patiently to see what outrageous outfit Lady Gaga would show up in. Now, we’re all waiting anxiously, but for different reasons. Lady Gaga has toned down her style in recent years and gone for glam instead.

This dress that she wore to the 2015 Grammys worked perfectly since she was arriving and performing with legendary singer, Tony Bennett.

Keep reading to see what celebrity wore the most expensive dress in Oscar history.

Gisele Bündchen Showed Just Enough At The 2008 Met Gala

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Back in 2008, Gisele Bündchen was at the top of the fashion world. She had just been named the 4th most powerful woman in fashion, was ranked the 16th richest woman in the entertainment industry, and was engaged to marry star quarterback Tom Brady.

This stunning pink sating Versace gown had cutouts in all the right places to show off all of Gisele’s natural beauty. It was a nice reminder to everyone that she was at the top of her game.

Ronda Rousey Was A Total Knockout On The Red Carpet

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

Ronda Rousey lit up the red carpet at the 2014 premiere for The Expendables 3. The film was the former UFC star’s first step into the acting world and it seemed to work out pretty well for her. She had some help alongside an all-star cast including Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Terry Crews, Kelsey Grammer… the list goes on and on.

Rousey wore this black and gold dress that proved she was more than just a fighter.

Jennifer Lawrence Wore The Most Expensive Dress In Oscar History

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Kurt Krieger/Corbis/Getty Images

This $4 million Dior dress that Jennifer Lawrence wore to the 2014 Academy Awards has made history in more than one way. First, it’s the most expensive dress ever worn to the Oscars, which is a pretty impressive feat.

Next, it was just plain stunning. Finally, it was the dress that J-Law famously tripped on going up the stairs to accept her Best Actress award. So many iconic moments, so little time.

The next two stars proved that they’re all grown up with these red carpet looks.

Kendall Jenner Raised Her Slits And The Bar In 2014

Sonia Recchia/George Pimentel/Getty Images

Now, Kendall Jenner is one of the most well-known models in the world walking the runways in Paris, Milan, and Los Angeles. Back in 2014, she was just beginning to step out of her family’s shadows. Kendall definitely made a statement in this dress at the Much Music Video Awards in 2014.

Those sky-high slits showed everyone that she wasn’t just the little girl on Keeping Up With The Kardashians she was now a fashion force to be reckoned with.

Ariel Winter Is All Grown Up At The 2015 Jingle Ball

Craig Barritt/Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

We’ve watched Ariel Winter grow up from the nerdy Alex Dunphy on Modern Family into a bold young woman. Ariel had been debuting some more adult looks over the years, but this sheer red jumpsuit worn to the 2015 Jingle Ball proved she’s not a little kid anymore.

She must have been feeling extra confident because just a few months before this red carpet appearance, she became officially emancipated from her mother.

Gwyneth Paltrow Pulled Off Taffeta In 1999

Ke.Mazur/Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Gwyneth Paltrow looks fresh-faced in this stunning pink Ralph Lauren taffeta gown. The dress often tops the list of the greatest dresses in the history of the Oscar red carpet because of its timeless appearance. Many people compare the style to Grace Kelly, and Paltrow was even credited with “bringing pink back into fashion.”

Her Oscar dress went on to inspire numerous prom dresses that year because Paltrow truly looked like a picturesque Barbie doll.

The next look also premiered at the 1999 Oscars, but it wasn’t as timeless.

Céline Dion Turned Us All Around In 1999

Ron Davis/SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images

In one of the wackier red carpet looks, French-Canadian singer Céline Dion wore this reversed Dior suit to the 1999 Oscars. The backward tuxedo was legendary not just because of the obvious bold fashion stance, but also because women rarely wore pants on the red carpet at that time.

Looking back, Dion says she doesn’t regret being so avant-garde at the time because now wearing pants on the red carpet is no big deal.

The next two leading ladies keep the trend of bold white red carpet looks going.

Angelina Jolie Was A Satin Dream At The Academy Awards

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

Back in 2004, Angelina Jolie had built a reputation around being Hollywood’s outcast, bad to the bone leading lady. Her biggest role to date had been as Lara Croft and she was often seen on the red carpet in black, avant-garde looks.

Jolie totally flipped the script at the 2004 Academy Awards with this white satin gown. She still played it coy though with a fierce up-do and a sleeveless look to show off her tattoos.

Ronda Was An Angel In White In 2018

Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Ronda made this list for a second time because her outfit choice for WWE’s First-Ever Emmy ‘For Your Consideration’ Event proved she can rock any style. We might be used to seeing her hair tied back in shorts and a sports bra, but this white jumpsuit is seriously fashion-forward.

Also, the tight white outfit can really only be pulled off by someone who trains to be at their peak physique at all times.

Coming up, take a look back at not one, but two of Cher’s most memorable red carpet outfits.

Paris Hilton Glittered In Gold At Cannes

Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

For years, we were used to seeing this hotel heiress in too-tight and way too immature outfits, but she’s shown us that times have changed. Paris Hilton wowed crowds when she appeared in this dangerously sheer gown designed by Yousef Al-Jasmi.

The sheer, gold, sparkling dress elongated her figure and proved she’s not a ditsy little girl anymore. The dress was only overshadowed by another barely-there gown that she changed into after the red carpet.

Nicole Kidman Stole The Show At The 69th Academy Awards

Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images

Nicole Kidman made headlines in this olive green dress at the 1997 Academy Awards. The dress was designed by John Galliano and her choice to feature it put both of their names on the map.

Kidman ended up with all the press despite not even being nominated for an award that night. John Galliano was relatively new to the fashion world back then and was quickly appointed to head Dior after this.

Cher Made Her First Bold Fashion Statement In 1986

Frank Trapper/Corbis/Jim Smeal/WireImage/Getty Images

Cher has never been afraid to bare it all in the name of fashion. Ever since her days on Sonny & Cher, she’s pushed the boundaries of fashion and yes, sometimes she goes overboard. This look from the 1986 Academy Awards was a one-of-a-kind design by Bob Mackie.

The gown alone was enough to be a show-stopper, but Mackie topped it with a two-foot-tall headpiece inspired by Las Vegas showgirls.

Cher Came Back Two Years Later To Wow Us Further

Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images

Cher wasn’t nominated when she attended the Oscars in 1986 but two years later she was on the docket to win Best Actress for her role in Moonstruck. For that moment, she opted to leave the headpiece behind but somehow show even more skin. This gown was more reminiscent of a belly dancer and was sheer in all the right places.

Cher may not have always been the pinnacle of fashion but she always gave us a memorable red carpet look.

The actress coming up wore a Gap item on the red carpet and it actually worked.

Halle Berry Took Sheer To The Next Level In 2002

Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Most sheer dresses that make it to the red carpet are just dresses with cut-out panels that show a little too much. Halle Berry decided to flip the script and add embroidery to her sheer paneling.

The combination of the embroidered flowers, deep mahogany red, and satin skirt made Halle look just as statuesque as the life-sized Oscar behind her. She was channeling some serious Greek-goddess vibes and pulled it off flawlessly.

Barbra Streisand Was Ahead Of Her Time In 1969

Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images

Barbra Streisand was picking up her first of many Oscars for her role in Funny Girl. In fact, it was her first Oscars ever and she didn’t think twice about wearing the sheer sequin pantsuit by Arnold Scassi.

On today’s red carpet it’s not very shocking to see sheer panels, barely-there dresses, and avant-garde pantsuits. Back in 1969, to have all three of those things in one outfit nearly blew the roof off the Academy Awards.

Sharon Stone Mixed Couture And Casual In 1998

Evan Agostini/Ke.Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Sharon Stone is one of those tall blonde beauties that can look good in a potato sack, but no one expected her to pull off wearing a white button-down gap shirt on the red carpet. Stone wore this ensemble to the 1998 Academy Awards and fashionistas didn’t know what to think.

On the one hand, she looks stunning in that purple Vera Wang skirt. On the other hand, who let her wear her husband’s Gap shirt with it? We’re still conflicted today.

The next beauty is known for her bold color choices on the red carpet.

Lupita Nyong’o Pulled Off A Bold Color At The 86th Oscars

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

Lupita Nyong’o might be a relative newcomer to the Hollywood red carpet scene but she’s definitely made her mark. Lupita broke records for being the first Kenyan to win an Oscar when she took home the Best Supporting Actress award in 2014.

The stunning light blue dress she wore on the red carpet was complimented by simple jewels by Fred Leighton. Since this moment, Lupita has been known to walk the red carpet in bright pinks, yellows, oranges, and greens.

Kim Kardashian Made Grandma’s Crochet Look Cool

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

There are a lot of head-turning looks that Kim Kardashian steps out in, but they aren’t all exactly red carpet ready. She traded in her oversized sweaters and Yeezy boots for a head-turning dress at the Balmain fashion show in Paris.

Her dress may have been full length but it didn’t cover much. The holes throughout the gown showed off everything imaginable. Kim wasn’t phased though as she confidently sat front and center.

Emily Ratajkowski Was Fierce In All Black At Cannes

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Anthony Harvey/FilmMagic/Getty Images

You have to see it to believe it, but this incredible black gown worn by Emily Ratajkowski isn’t a gown at all — it’s a jumpsuit! Yes, it’s the craziest jumpsuit we’ve ever seen but there’s pants under that train. The lace, off-the-shoulder catsuit is paired with a black, ruched taffeta train.

We’re not sure what inspired her to rock this memorable look but it’s definitely gone down in Cannes history.

Madonna Chanelled Marilyn Monroe In 1991

Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images

Madonna has a million different red carpet looks that are memorable for different reasons (who could forget that white dress she wore to the first MTV Video Awards) but this one takes the cake. Madge decided to channel old Hollywood glam and her personal icon Marilyn Monroe.

The curve-hugging white sequin dress paired perfectly with gloves and white fur, and bouncy curls reminiscent of the 1950s.

Hilary Swank Looked Like A Million Bucks At The 2005 Oscars

Dan MacMedan/WireImage/M. Von Holden/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Hilary Swank’s midnight blue gown for the 2005 Oscars constantly tops best-dressed lists because of its elegance. From the front, Swank looks modest and timeless with a high neck, long-sleeved gown.

Turn 180 degrees and the gown plunges to show off a completely open back. The timeless gown was a perfect dress for the occasion since Swank took home the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Million Dollar Baby.

Björk Stepped Out In The Iconic Swan Dress In 2001

Mirek Towski/FilmMagic/Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

Do we even need to explain whether this is on the good or bad side of memorable? Icelandic singer Björk stepped onto the 73rd Academy Awards red carpet with this and no one knew what to do. Just look at the guy in the background’s face.

The dress was designed by a Macedonian designer, Marjan Pejoski, and was one of a kind. Looking back on the dress, Björk says she simply knew that attending the Oscars was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that she would make the most out of it.

Elizabeth Hurley Used Safety Pins For Her 1994 Versace Dress

Dave Benett/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Back in 1994, Elizabeth Hurley was a virtually unknown actress. When she decided to wear this black Versace dress that was held together with gold safety pins to the premiere of Four Wedding and a Funeral, it basically catapulted her to center stage.

Alongside making her name well-known to the public, it launched Versace as well. Thanks to all the media coverage of the dress, Versace is now a household name.

Michelle Williams Was A Ray Of Sunshine At The 78th Oscars

KMazur/J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

Michelle Williams turned heads at the 2006 Academy Awards in this canary-yellow dress designed by Vera Wang. The actress had primarily starred in independent films until her big break as a supporting actress in Brokeback Mountain.

Williams stunning yellow dress was perfectly nipped in at the waist to show off her figure. The look is so memorable because it brought some life and color back to a red carpet often dominated by white, black, and blue dresses.