Iconic Dresses Everyone Needs to Know About and Remember

by | Apr 14, 2023 | Fashion, Literature & Fiction | 0 comments

Photo by Victoria Akvarel

Rabbithole, a Nights of Alice book by Melissa Rea, involves a lot of gorgeous clothes, but you do not need to go to imagined realities to find even more iconic dresses.

In Melissa Rea’s Rabbithole (a Nights of Alice book), Alice Hightower finds that clothes are slowly appearing in her closet at sunset. 

Bell bottoms from the 70s, beaded flapper dresses from the 20s, etc. What’s more? They all fit her perfectly! It’s as if the clothes were made for her and only her. And every time she puts the clothes on, she gets a chance to go to other worlds that might be reminiscent of the past or something else entirely. Wherever she goes, it is all so wonderful!

But, speaking of clothes—they have been a part of civilization since it began, and while there is a lot to dig into with that, the topic for today’s article is modern clothes, specifically, some of the most iconic dresses of the last 100 years. 

Cyclone by Jeanne Lanvin

Cyclone by Jeanne Lanvin

Made in 1939, the Cyclone is a black evening dress that perfectly encapsulates the high class and elegance of the era while also adopting a very bold and assertive style with its gold frills and low neckline. The bodice of the dress is simple and accentuates the female form. This dress is a great example of the bygone dreams of the times.

The wedding dress of Grace Kelly

Designed by Helen Rose of MGM, the wedding dress of Grace Kelly worn during her wedding with Prince Rainier III of Monaco is easily one of the most memorable bridal gowns of all time. It has been described as the symbol of marital fervor and an embodiment of the elegance and charisma that Grace Kelly had. Any bride would be satisfied to wear something similar during their “happiest day.”

The black Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn in the iconic black Givenchy dress

If you are a fan of timeless romantic comedies, you might be aware of and have seen the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This little black dress designed by Hubert de Givenchy and worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movie is perhaps the most—if not one of the most iconic dresses in this list. The black Givenchy dress is emblematic of the era, memorable even in the black and white tones of the cinematic experiences prevalent at the time. It’s been copied and mimicked all over and can best be described as “timeless.”

The Happy Birthday, Mr. President dress of Marilyn Monroe

Although Marilyn Monroe is best remembered for her iconic pose in the Seven Year Itch, she also wore one of the most iconic dresses of all time. Designed by Jean Louis, the dress was reportedly worth (adjusted for inflation) $10,023 and was designed by Bob Mackie, a well-known Hollywood costumier. What makes this dress so iconic is the fact that Marilyn Monroe wore it during a gala held in honor of then-president John F. Kennedy for his upcoming 45th birthday. The dress even made a recent comeback when Kim Kardashian wore it during an event and reportedly ripped it.

The green Versace dress

The green Versace dress of Jennifer Lopez

Perhaps the most remembered of the iconic dresses of the 20th century, this green Versace silk chiffon dress was worn by Jennifer Lopez during the 42nd Grammy Awards. Printed with a tropical leaf and bamboo pattern and holding a very low neckline that extended past the navel, this dress was very risqué and bold. The attention that was created by this dress made Versace a household name and even pushed Google to create its image search engine. This was THE dress of the year 2000, a turning point in contemporary fashion.

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