Vintage Hollywood Fashion: 10 of the Most Stunning Oscars Dresses & Outfits

Posted: 25/02/2019 @ 15:09PM

Vintage Hollywood Fashion: 10 Stunning Oscars Dresses & Gowns
Pic: Rex Features

The Oscars are almost as famous for fashion as they are for the films themselves. Officially, the dress code for the Academy Awards is black tie, the most formal of dress codes, and meaning the men are obliged to wear black tuxedos and the women should wear floor length evening gowns - although exceptions can be, and often are, made. In contemporary times, the Oscars has become a fashion show of it's own, with not many nowadays sticking to the strict black tie formality. One thing is still true though, the Oscars have produced some of the most stunning and beautiful dresses and gowns of the last 9 decades. Here's our run down of 10 of them most dazzling and memorable Vintage Red Carpet dresses. 


Audrey Hepburn at the Oscars in 1954 wearing a Givenchy Dress
Pic: Rex Features

1. Audrey Hepburn, 1954

Marking the first time Audrey Hepburn wore a Hubert de Givenchy dress in public, she looked amazing in this classic and chic dress when she picked up the Best Actress oscar for Roman Holiday in 1954. It was to mark the start of a beautiful fashion friendship, with Audrey becoming a style muse for Givenchy and he designing many memorable dresses and gowns for her, including the iconic little black dress she wore in Breakfast At Tiffany's. 


Julia Roberts at the Oscars in 2001 wearing a Valentino Dress
Pic - Harper's Bazaar

2. Julia Roberts, 2001

When collecting the Best Actress award for Erin Brockovich in 2001, Julia Roberts elected to wear a vintage Valentino gown, bucking the trend for custom-made, never-seen-before Oscar gowns. This beautiful dress was from Valentino's 1982 collection and Valentino later described Julia wearing it at the 2001 Oscars as one of the highlights of his career. This event is also credited with creating a trend for vintage fashion, making it (even more) collectable, desirable and fashionable to wear vintage. 

Grace Kelly in Edith Head Dress at 1955 Oscars
Pic: Getty

3. Grace Kelly, 1955

"Some people need sequins, others don't," designer Edith Head said of her choice to dress Grace Kelly in a simple but stunning ice-blue duchess satin coat, column dress and matching slipper shoes to collect the Best Actress award for The Country Girl in 1955. But this wasn't the first time Grace had worn this amazing dress as Edith Head, winner of eight Academy Awards for costume design herself, had originally conceived this ensemble for the New York premiere of The Country Girl a year earlier. 

Ava Gardner at the 1960 Oscars 
Pic: Frank Worth, Courtesy of Capital Art via Getty Images

4. Ava Gardner, 1960

Silver screen icon, Ava Gardner epitomised vintage Hollywood glamour in this dazzling sequined halterneck gown, paired with a bejewelled tiara and white elbow length gloves. She wasn't nominated herself in 1960, but she certainly steals the show. 

Marilyn Monroe wearing Black Tulle Dress at the 1951 Oscars
Pic: Getty Images

5. Marilyn Monroe, 1951

No vintage fashion list would be complete without an appearence from Marilyn and here she is in a stunning black tulle dress in 1951. Marilyn attended the 1951 Academy Awards ceremony to present the award for Best Sound Recording and got her iconic dress from the 20th Century Fox wardrobe department. 

Barbra Streisand at the 1969 Oscars
Pic: George Birch/AP/Rex

6. Barbra Streisand, 1969 

A love it or loath it outfit for Barbra Streisand when she collected the Best Actress oscar for Funny Girl in 1969. This mod inspired trouser suit was designed by Arnold Scaasi, with dramatically flared trousers, tuxedo cuffs and white collar. Being rather see-through, the outfit caused controversy too, but this was more by accident then intention. "I had no idea that when the lights hit that outfit, it would become transparent!" said Barbra in an interview with W magazine in 2016. "I wanted a white collar and cuffs, which it had, and I wore my hair under my chin, because I thought to myself, I’m going to win two Oscars in my lifetime, and I’ll be more conservative next time."

Jennifer Lawrence wears Dior Couture for the 2013 Oscars
Pic: Getty Images

7. Jennifer Lawrence, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence channelled Vintage Hollywood in this stunning blush-pink gown by Dior Couture in 2013. The dress was further ensconced in Oscars history when Jennifer tripped on it's skirt while climbing the stairs to accept her Best Acress award for Silver Linings Playbook. "Look at this dress!" she said. "I tried to walk up stairs in this dress—that's what happened!" She still looked beautiful though. 

Rita Moreno wears the same Oscar Dress in 1962 and 2018

8. Rita Moreno, 1962 & 2018

Rita Moreno made headlines last year when she 'recycled' her 1962 Oscars gown for the ceremony in 2018. A truly vintage Oscars dress, Rita Moreno scooped the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story in 1962 and 56 years later brought back the same dress to present the award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2018. The dress was made from Obi fabric, the same sort of heavily embroidered fabric used for Japanese Kimonos and sashes, which could explain why the dress has weathered so well. "This is a 56-year-old gown that I wore when I won my Oscar in 1962," she said. "This is the dress. It’s been hanging in my closet and I go and stroke it now and then. I just love [it] — it was an amazing night. They didn’t have a red carpet then, it was so different.”

Vivien Leigh at the Oscars in 1940
Pic: Getty 

9. Vivien Leigh, 1940 

At the 12th Academy Awards in 1940, Vivien Leigh wore a beautifully understated chiffon floor length gown to collect her oscar for Best Actress for Gone With The Wind. Her green chiffon gown was printed with red poppies and hints of yellow, gray and blue mixed into the pattern. Perhaps more unusually for 1940, the dress featured spaghetti straps, side cut-outs and a low-cut bodice. It was designed by Irene Lentz, a film costume designer who also designed items for private customers. This dress was part of her Autumn 1939 collection and was chosen by Vivien for the Oscars from a list with the simple description of 'red poppy evening gown.'

Norma Shearer at the 3rd ever Oscars Ceremony

10. Norma Shearer, 1930

Norma Sheerer was the third ever winner of the Best Actress oscar when she wore this sleek brocade evening gown in beautiful gold lamé in 1930. She won for The Divorcée, a racy film (for the time) which also featured this dress. Finished off with flowers at the waist and fur cuff detailing, the dress was designed by Gilbert Adrian, MGM's wardrobe supervisor.