The 2021 Oscars are right around the corner and while the ceremony will look different this year because of the ongoing pandemic, there will still be a scaled-back red carpet (because who couldn’t use a little fashion fantasy right now?). In anticipation of the April 25 ceremony, FASHION Magazine editors chose their picks for the best Oscars dresses ever. Read on for why these unforgettable Oscars looks will go down in history.
Cher in Bob Mackie (1986) Photography via Getty Images
And the award for Fashion Revenge goes to…Cher! The Bob Mackie creation might not be so shocking today, but in 1986 it ruffled more feathers than in the headdress that topped the wild and witchy look. Miffed at not being nominated for her role in Mask, the singer asked Mackie for a design that would convey her annoyance for not being taken seriously as an actress.Two years later she beat Meryl Streep, winning Best Actress for Moonstruck. —Bernadette Morra, editor-in-chief
Billy Porter in Christian Siriano (2019) Photography via Getty Images
We’ve seen many women sport tuxedos and suiting on the red carpet, but Billy Porter’s turn in a custom “tuxedo dress” by New York-based designer Christian Siriano stole the show in 2019. No stranger to going completely — and authentically — OTT with his event ensembles, Porter’s captivating look (a velvet tuxedo jacket and frilled, french-cuffed shirt mixed with a lush full-length velvet gown) was a major move forward for the notion of genderless dressing during one of the world’s most-viewed moments. A breath of fabulous fresh air, indeed! —Odessa Paloma Parker, fashion news director
Gemma Chan in Valentino Couture (2019) Photography via Getty Images
Simply put, this Valentino Couture gown that Gemma Chan wore to the 2019 Oscars is a statement. There’s no hiding when you have a starched, ruffled collar emerging from billowing layers of punchy pink taffeta. But Chan wears it almost nonchalantly, thanks to the hidden pockets which she later revealed were holding cookies and rice crackers, a little something to get her through the three-hour ceremony. —Sarah Mariotti, contributor
Céline Dion in Dior (1999) Photography via Getty Images
Céline Dion goes down in the fashion hall of fame for her backwards and backless tuxedo and matching hat by John Galliano for Dior. More than 20 years ago, the look received backlash and was considered inappropriate on a red carpet dominated by glitter and gowns. Looking back, Dion’s game-changing ensemble was way ahead of its time — traditions and rules are meant to be broken! I hope we have more of these moments going forward in Hollywood. —George Antonopoulos, fashion and creative director
Halle Berry in Elie Saab (2002) Photography via Getty Images
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of using the word iconic far too loosely, but Halle Berry’s Elie Saab number at the 2002 Academy Awards (the year she won Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball and became the first Black woman to win the award!) is definitely worthy of the title. Between the jaw-dropping (for 2002, at least) sheer panelling, the silk skirt in that unforgettable rich burgundy shade, the beautiful embroidery work and Berry’s pixie cut that’s equally iconic (sorry but also undeniably true!), it’ll forever be a red carpet look that lives in my head rent-free. —Souzan Michael Galway, acting beauty director<
Lauren Hutton in Halston (1975) Photography via Getty Images
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m longing for a ridiculously glam night on the town, but I could cry a river gazing at this disco dream on gap-toothed babe Lauren Hutton. The magic of this Halston look is that while it’s emblematic of the disco era, it would look just as fun at a fancy fête today (swapping the chubby fur for a faux option, naturally) as it did in 1975. Those layers of pastel rainbow chiffon! The plunging neckline and skinny belt! I may have COVID-induced Saturday night fever, but someone get me on a dance floor, stat. —Jennifer Berry, digital director
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