Every big event is an exhibit of glamor and, sometimes, shocking outfits. There are two main things that everyone is holding their breath for at every award show: the winners of the night and the red carpet clothes celebrities use. Maybe not in that order. When you’re unsure of your winning odds for that highly craved Oscar or Grammy statuette, you can still come out on top by leaving everyone breathless with a memorable apparel. Some starlets have embraced this concept, turning the pre-show red carpet lineup into a competition where everyone displays their finest outfits, with labels of the biggest brands attached to them.
Needless to say, some celebrities have definitely managed to stand out, having earned a permanent spot in the hall of fame of the best red carpet dresses. After taking a look at this hall of fame, we’ve selected the Top 10 Most Stunning Red Carpet Dresses of All Time. Some of them stunned us positively while some made a lesser impact.
#1 Jennifer Lopez, 42nd GRAMMY Awards
Jennifer Lopez stunned us all with her revealing dress on the red carpet at the 2000 Grammys. The transparent, lively colored Versace gown left little to the imagination. The top part of the dress was generously cut and not even the long bottom managed to keep her legs hidden. All in all, the Hollywood starlet managed to be one of the hottest sights in history, by having it all – style and a great shock factor.
#2 Halle Berry, 74th Academy Awards
The actress managed to hit two birds with one stone at the 2002 Academy Awards. She managed to be the first African-American Best Actress Oscar winner and she awed everyone with her red carpet dress. The gown was an Elie Saab creation, which took everyone’s breath with its revealing top embroidery and the chromatic of the bottom part.
#3 Gwyneth Paltrow, 71st Academy Awards
Seventeen years later, Paltrow’s petal-pink taffeta dress is still one of the most debated red carpet prom dresses. The actress wore the gorgeous Ralph Lauren gown at the 1999 Academy Awards, where she also managed to snub an Oscar for Best Actress after her performance in Shakespeare In Love. Talk about a wholesome night, right?
#4 Lupita Nyong’o, 86th Academy Awards
The gorgeous Kenyan actress wore this custom-made Prada gown the night she received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Many of the dress’ elements have personal value to the starlet, from the color which reminiscences of her country of origin to the neckline, a nod to her admitted fashion inspiration, Elizabeth Taylor.
#5 Jennifer Lawrence, 85th Academy Awards
Lawrence was the hottest star of the moment, so it was only bound for her to live up to the expectations of audiences and critics alike. Her cream gown was the focus of every photographer present at the 2013 Academy Awards, for a good reason too. She looked absolutely stunning dressed in this piece and holding the golden statuette won for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. But as we all remember, in adorkable typical Jennifer Lawrence fashion, she tripped over her puffy dress right as she was climbing the stairs on her way to receive the award. That only goes to confirm the fact that what’s pretty isn’t always practical.
#6 Rihanna, 53rd GRAMMY Awards
It’s even more difficult for celebrities of the 2010 decade to escape the critical radar, given the massive media exposure of award shows. This is why everyone made a giant buzz over Rihanna’s dress which she flaunted on the red carpet of the 2011 GRAMMYs. The couture Jean Paul Gaultier creation clothed her figure in circles of transparency and feathers, elegantly showing off her curves.
#7 Angelina Jolie, 76th Academy Awards
It was very difficult to pick only one of Jolie’s sexy red carpet dresses, mostly because she’s established a reputation as a generally well-dressed celebrity. However, her outfit at the 2004 Oscars might just take the cake. The beautiful actress managed to pull off a Marc Bouwer gown made from white silk, a material often deemed tricky by many celebrities.
#8 Zoe Saldana, 82nd Academy Awards
Saldana was a true droplet of color among the lineup of celebrities on the red carpet of that year’s Academy Awards. She flaunted a purple Givenchy creation, crafted with sparkles at the top and a black-to-violet ombre on the bottom. It was a daring choice, but it definitely managed to make this one of her most memorable looks. If anything, it proved playfulness is welcomed even on the red carpet of the most prestigious award show.
#9 Celine Dion, 71st Academy Awards
It’s difficult to make a positive lasting impression, but it’s equally difficult to make a negative one. For such an iconic singer, Dion’s red carpet appearance didn’t really manage to live up to her reputation. She showed up in a Christian Dior two-piece creation that featured a backward tuxedo and a tall hat that looked like one of those paper boats. The fact that she matched this already erratic outfit with a pair of shades didn’t help lessen the “loony detective” vibe she was already oozing.
#10 Bjork, 73rd Academy Awards
Speaking of disastrous outfit choices, Bjork made the questionable choice of the year when she showed up in her bizarre red carpet dress. The fact that it was designed to look like a swan coiled around her neck was one thing, but the fact that she pretended to lay an egg as well took everything to a whole new level. I guess that, at the very least, we can appreciate her dedication to the theme she chose for her apparel.
All in all, it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd, more so when a gathering of A-list celebrities is involved. Starlets prepare days (even weeks) in advance for the big reveal of their outfit choices, each and every one of them hoping to make a historical impression. This is all the more difficult considering that there isn’t really a recipe for success. Sometimes you can win everyone over by displaying simplicity and elegance. Sometimes you need to take a small risk and distance yourself from other safe choices. Either way, these were the Top 10 Most Stunning Red Carpet Dresses of All Time.