From Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress to Lady Gaga‘s infamous meat dress, take a look at a selection of the most powerful fashion statements ever made.
Princess Margaret in Dior Haute Couture
Cecil Beaton’s iconic portrait of the fashionable Princess Margaret wearing an off the shoulder cream Haute Couture Dior gown on the eve of her 21st birthday in 1951, transformed the young princess into a fashion icon. She later referred to it as her favorite dress of all time.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress
Still regarded as one of the most loved wedding dresses of all time, Jacqueline Bouvier married then-Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1953, wearing an ivory silk taffeta ruffled gown, featuring a round neck and huge skirt interwoven with tiny wax flowers. The dress was designed by the African American designer, Ann Cole Lowe, who at the time was unknown and sadly never received her much deserved credit in the media.
The little black dress
While Coco Chanel did not invent the little black dress when Vogue published a drawing of a calf-length black crepe de chine Chanel design in 1926, the timeless classic quickly became a staple in every woman’s wardrobe and still remains so to date.
Le Smoking tuxedo
Designed by the legendary couturier Yves Saint Laurent in 1966, the Le Smoking tuxedo initially faced criticism for its minimalist, androgynous style, yet went on to pave the way for suiting for women throughout the decades.
Halle Berry in Elie Saab
Actress Halle Berry’s Oscar win in 2001 was unforgettable for many reasons. Making history, she was the first woman of color to win the best actress award for her performance in Monster’s Ball. Asides from this truly momentous occasion, her burgundy gown featuring a sheer top with floral embellishment, and maroon silk skirt made headlines, arguably putting the Lebanese designer Elie Saab on the global fashion map.
Mari Antoinette in a robe de gaulle
In 1783, artist Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun painted Marie Antoinette in a simple cotton dress known as a robe de gaulle. Widely known for her lavish taste, this somewhat rustic design was in stark contrast to the typical Rococo style of the time. The dress sparked such a following it caused the cotton industry to explode, not to mention the outcry among aristocrats who felt such an inexpensive simple fabric was not suitable for a Queen.
Queen Victoria’s coronation robes
Queen Victoria wore two immaculate robes for her coronation on June 28, 1838. A crimson velvet robe with an extensive train was worn over a stiff white satin dress with gold embroidery. She later replaced the crimson cloak with a lighter linen gown trimmed with lace due to its extensive weight for the presentation of the Royal jewels.
Christian Dior’s debut collection
Two years after the end of World War II, following a time of utilitarian attire, the French couturier Christian Dior presented his debut collection in Paris that was to dramatically alter the world of fashion and style for women at the time. With tightly fitted jackets, padded hips and neatly tailored waists with an A-line skirt, the new shape was designed to celebrate the feminine form at its finest and continues to be heavily referenced by designers today.
Ilhan Omar’s hijab
There had been a 181-year ban on headwear of any type in the chamber of American Congress before it was lifted for Ilhan Omar. “No one puts a scarf on my head but me,” she tweeted. “It’s my choice – one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”
Lady Gaga’s meat dress
For the 2010 MTV Music Awards, American singer Lady Gaga wore the now infamous dress made from raw beef designed by Franc Fernadez. “It has many interpretations, but for me this evening it’s saying, ‘If we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones,” she later explained in an interview.
Read Next: Remembering Peter Beard. The Photographer Who Discovered Iman Dies