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The Golden Age of Hollywood Oscar Fashion

By Julie Fink
Posted On Feb 27, 2016
The Golden Age of Hollywood Oscar Fashion

Tomorrow is the night we have all been waiting for, The Oscars. It’s the one night in Los Angeles where our favorite celebrities and starlets come dressed to the nines, exuding Hollywood glamour with their head-turning red carpet looks. Before we get into this year’s red carpet fashion, we are going to take a moment to remember the dazzling ladies who invented the best-dressed list. From an off the rack dress worn by Janet Gaynor in 1929 to a Christian Dior dress worn by Jennifer Lawrence in 2013, these legendary looks certainly endured the test of time of classic Hollywood beauty. These are the ultimate trendsetters…

Olivia de Havilland, 1947

Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland looked stunning in her pale blue floral gown. The strapless sweetheart dress was trimmed with tiny ruffles and flowed into a huge A-line floral forest. The dress was designed by Ann Lowe, one of the first African-American designers to achieve great success in the fashion industry. Anne Lowe was noted for designing First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress for her marriage to John F. Kennedy. Havilland wore classic little pin up curls and a signature red lip when accepting her Oscar for her role in To Each His Own. This look is beyond beautiful!

Audrey Hepburn, 1954

Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn’s off-white, floral embossed, A-line Oscar dress was made by THE Hubert Givenchy, the founder of Givenchy. Hepburn wore this at the 1954 Oscars, two years after Givenchy founded the fashion house. Fast forward 70 years and celebrities are still swooning over his timeless designs: Beyoncé at the Met Ball, Adele at the Grammy’s, even Beyoncé’s latest hit, Formation referenced the designer. Audrey let her dress do all the talking with minimal make up and her classic up-do. Her grace and poise set the mark for the classic Hollywood style.

This was a fanciful year in Hollywood as the lovely Audrey picked up her first (and last) Oscar for “Roman Holiday,” having been nominated a total of five times. The epic film co-starred Gregory Peck and was written by blacklisted Dalton Trumbo.

Grace Kelly
, 1955

Grace Kelly Oscar WinGrace Kelly wore a beautifully ruched sea foam green gown to the 1955 Academy Awards, made by costume designer Edith Head. Edith Head was a lead designer for Paramount, designing many iconic movie looks, such as Elizabeth Taylor’s sweetheart gown in “A Place in the Sun,” Audrey Hepburn’s summer clothes in 1953’s “Roman Holiday,” and the pale green suit worn by Tippi Hedren in “The Birds.”  Kelly’s red lip, pale skin and light blonde hair really pop with the cool contrast of her dress and are what make her signature style a true classic Hollywood beauty.

Kelly received an Oscar for her brilliant portrayal of the “The Country Girl” starring alongside legendary Bing Crosby; both were hailed for their controversial work. Given the period of its production, the film covered honest topics on the elusive side of alcoholism and post-divorce relations.

Doris Day, 1960

Doris Day

Doris Day’s slim fitting sequined gown is as flashy as it gets in the 1960s. Selena Gomez, Kaley Cucoco and Vanessa Lachey all wore sparkling sequined dresses to the 2016 Grammys. A big thanks to Ms. Dorris Day for paving the way. This glittering dress was designed by two time Oscar-nominated designer, Irene Lentz. Lentz dressed Day for her films Lover Come BackMidnight Lace, and B.F.’s Daughter. This dress was hand crafted just for Ms. Day, a slender floor length sheath solidly encrusted with silvery white bugle beads. Although just attending the 1960 Academy Awards as a presenter, Doris’ glittery gown by Iren Lentz stole the show and massed headlines. Her charm and glamour, short blonde bob and little white gloves radiate classic Hollywood.

Elizabeth Taylor, 1961

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor wore a 1961 Christian Dior original to accept her award for Butterfield 8. The floral color scheme: yellow, red, white and olive green was perfectly feminine and flattering for Taylor. The sheer sleeveless gown goes from form-fitting to a poofy wedding dress style, belted with a red rose at the waist. She wears a red lip to match her red floral accent, white gloves, and her signature bouffant. Classic Elizabeth Taylor.

28-year old Taylor enchanted the Oscars that year not only on the red carpet but on the big screen with her stunning performance in the romantic drama of a fashionable Manhattan model turned man-trap… and the world falls in love.

The demure of our past time only flattered these ladies and their legendary looks. They were the ground crew for sexy sophistication. This Golden Age of fashion still inspires our ‘it’ ladies of today through red carpet looks that leave us breathless. Although we will miss the white gloves and key tones of this jaunty era, there is no need for goodbyes. The dawn of classic Hollywood glamour continues to shine!