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Red Carpet Fashion

Maria Fernandez | Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Oscars are not only the most-awaited awards of the year, but they are also one of the most important events for fashion. From choice of colors to innovative dress silhouettes, actresses have walked the Oscar’s red carpet wearing amazing ensembles that embody the trends of the moment, becoming unforgettable pieces in fashion history.

Although I might dare to predict some of the trends our favorite actresses will sport on Sunday (lace, pastels and deep red and blue colors are so in right now!), we have yet to see the final result. So, while we wait, let’s reminisce on some of the Oscar’s most avant-garde and iconic gowns of all time.

Audrey Hepburn, 1954

Audrey Hepburn was already a style icon before she won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1954 for her role in “Roman Holiday.” However, the Givenchy dress she wore that night made fashion headlines and continues to be a source of inspiration for designers and fashionistas alike.

Her simple and sophisticated signature style is perfectly exemplified in this sweet and delicate floral-adorned belted gown. Hepburn’s style will never cease to influence the fashion world.

Nicole Kidman, 1997

Accompanied by her then-husband Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman made her entrance into fashion royalty with a Christian Dior Couture gown at the 1997 Academy Awards.

With elegance and poise, Kidman turned this creative and eclectic hand-made masterpiece into a fashion hit. The dress’s bright green color, embroidered details and thigh-high slit definitely captivated everyone’s attention that night.

Halle Berry, 2002

The 2002 Oscars were undeniably Halle Berry’s night. Not only did she win Best Actress for her role in “Monster’s Ball,” but she also stole the show with a daring Elie Saab creation. Its deep red skirt and sheer embroidered top are not easy to pull off, but Berry did so successfully. Her simplicity and effortlessness went perfectly with this intricate gown, encouraging viewers to embrace the sheer trend that is still en vogue.

Jessica Alba and

Michelle Williams, 2006

Who can forget Jessica Alba and Michelle Williams’ ensembles for the 2006 Oscars? I know I can’t. Although very different gowns, both stars rocked gold and yellow tones that evening.

Alba’s curve-hugging gold Versace gown is a classic dress full of unique and unforgettable details. She looked spectacular, and since then has been thought of as a leader in fashion.

Williams was also a red carpet favorite in 2006, as she accompanied her former beau, Oscar nominee Heath Ledger, to the awards. Her bright yellow Vera Wang dress gave her an edgy, but elegant look that has inspired many fashion lovers.

Jessica Biel and

Reese Witherspoon, 2007

The 2007 Oscar fashions were all about bright and bold colors, and Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Biel perfectly embodied this trend. Biel opted for a fuchsia Oscar de la Renta gown. Its simple halter silhouette and thin black belt paired with diamond jewels is a classic combination that can never go wrong.

After a heart-breaking divorce, Witherspoon quickly reinvented herself and her style by wearing a jaw-dropping purple Nina Ricci gown to the Academy Awards. This strapless gown with a beautiful scale-like skirt will remain in fashion history as the dress that proved Reese was back and ready to continue her successful acting career.

Sandra Bullock, 2010

Sandra Bullock showed off her fashionable side to the public with a silver embroidered statement gown from Marchesa as she received her Oscar for Best Actress in 2010. The actress made an unexpected choice with this original dress and confirmed she was not only Oscar material, but also a fashion icon in the making.

Let’s see what new and unforgettable gowns will these 2012 Oscars bring.

contact Maria Fernandez at

mfernan5@nd.edu