You might struggle to remember which films were the big winners at the Oscars in 2006, but chances are you remember Michelle Williams’s mustard-yellow Vera Wang gown from the night. The Academy Award red carpet is the most scrutinised of the year—and a chance for the stars to earn themselves a spot in fashion history—notably with famed Oscars dresses.
The demure white Givenchy dress Audrey Hepburn collected her Best Actress trophy in in 1954 lives long in the memory, and Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar-winning moment in 2014 was made all the more special by her powder-blue Prada gown.
Last year, all eyes were on modern red-carpet queen Zendaya, who pulled off a subtle homage to another look listed here: Sharon Stone’s Vera Wang skirt and Gap shirt combo from the 1998 ceremony. The Dune star updated the approach to spectacular effect in her cropped shirt and shimmering column skirt, with a little help from Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino.
Ahead of the 2023 Academy Awards, revisit some fashion highlights from ceremonies past, below.
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In 2000, Cate wore a backless Jean Paul Gaultier dress that would doubtless appeal to modern JPG fans like Bella Hadid and the Jenner sisters.
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Before she was in a committed relationship with Chanel, Penélope Cruz’s simple blue Ralph Lauren gown was a winner on the 2000 red carpet.
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Stone famously styled her satin Vera Wang skirt with a Gap shirt for the 1998 Oscars. It raised eyebrows at the time, but went on to inspire a spectacular homage from Zendaya at the 2022 Academy Awards.
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Oft imitated, but never equalled: Cher in her Bob Mackie coords back in 1973.
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Chloë went home without the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2000, but her Yves Saint Laurent dress was award-worthy.
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The supermodel gave Hollywood a lesson in bombshell dressing when she attended the 1991 Oscars on the arm of Richard Gere, wearing a traffic-stopping red Versace dress.
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Angela Bassett, who is nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category this year for her performance as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, was a regal presence on the red carpet back in 2000.
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The provenance of Winona’s fabulous flapper-style dress for the 1994 ceremony is unknown, but the actor has previously declared she has worn vintage dresses she picked up for $10 to the Oscars. Could this be one of them?
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The screen icon’s heavenly 1975 Oscars dress was the handiwork of her great fashion collaborator, Hubert de Givenchy.
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Nominated for her performance in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence went for simple yet very effective in a minimalist red dress by Calvin Klein.
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Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli crafted Zendaya’s custom look, a subtle nod to Sharon Stone’s skirt-and-shirt combo from 1998.
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The model oozed glamour as she arrived at the Oscars in 1975.
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The Best Actress nominee looked spectacular in Louis Vuitton in 2012.
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Roberts memorably chose vintage Valentino for her winning night in 2001.
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Zoë and Saint Laurent is always a killer combo. The 2022 Oscars red carpet was no exception.
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Lupita looked incredible in powder-blue Prada in 2014, the night she was named Best Supporting Actress for her searing performance in 12 Years a Slave.
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In 2002 Winslet chose a scarlet Ben de Lisi gown with floral detail. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Iris.
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Stone attended the 2017 ceremony in an exquisite gold Givenchy Haute Couture dress—and left clutching a Best Actress trophy for La La Land.
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Watts had a mermaid moment in shimmering navy Armani Privé in 2016.
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These days vintage is easily the most fashionable red-carpet choice, but back in 1989, River Phoenix’s date Martha Plimpton was way ahead of the curve in her silky 30s gown. Not to mention the chicest woman at the ceremony.
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Davis collected her Best Supporting Actress gong in 2017 wearing a scarlet Armani Privé gown perfect for her big moment.
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Nicole Kidman’s bespoke chartreuse gown for the 1997 Oscars was custom-made by John Galliano, newly-installed at Dior.
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Marion Cotillard accepted the Best Actress Oscar for her role in La Vie En Rose wearing a Jean Paul Gaultier gown covered in mermaid-like scales.
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Williams’s mustard Vera Wang gown for the 2006 ceremony—teamed perfectly with a red lip—deserved its own trophy.
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In 2002, Berry became the first woman of colour to win a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Monster’s Ball. She claimed her place in Hollywood history wearing a dramatic Elie Saab gown with a sheer bodice and flowing deep red skirt.
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Jaws dropped as Chan swept onto the red carpet in neon pink Valentino ruffles in 2019.
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Swank’s backless navy Guy Laroche gown showed off the results of all those Million Dollar Baby workouts at the 2005 ceremony.
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Shining once again in Prada at the 2022 ceremony.
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Sienna wore an Oscar de la Renta gown to attend the Oscars in 2015.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.