Trois modèles en robes dans un musée

The most iconic outfits in fashion history

Fashion is a form of self-expression and empowerment. It is characterized by the clothes we wear, shoes, accessories or jewelry. It differs and constantly evolves according to specific periods, places or contexts. But fashion can also be decisive or significant in history. Whether through the novelty it brings, through astonishment or shock, fashion can sometimes even be a provocation against the established order.

Discover the most influential outfits in the history of women’s fashion.

Christian Dior’s “New Look” in 1947

Le tailleur bar de Christian Dior exposé au Denver Art Museum

It was in 1947 that one of the most striking collections appeared. Christian Dior’s first collection introduced the “New Look” into women’s fashion. After the Second World War, the most worn outfits until then were military and civilian uniforms. Other outfits were restricted due to post-war shortages. Dior then offers not only a new look, but also a new perspective.

Audrey Hepburn’s “Little Black Dress” in 1961

Audrey Hepburn portant la petite robe noire en 1961

famous “Little black dress” or little black dress in French, was worn by Audrey Hepburn in the romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961.

It was designed by Hubert de Givenchy and is worn in the opening scene of the film. The dress is considered one of the most iconic garments in twentieth-century history, and perhaps the most famous little black dress of all time.

Marilyn Monroe’s “happy birthday” dress in 1962

Marilyn Monroe pendant l’anniversaire de J.F. Kennedy

In May 1962, Monroe’s rendition of “happy birthday” transformed a song heard countless times into a historic moment. Her seductive version at an event for President John F. Kennedy remains the most famous rendition of the song of all time.

This performance had such an impact, that the dress she wore became a historic fashion piece that sold millions.

Another lesser-known fact about the dress? Its creator was fresh out of college. It was young Bob Mackie’s very first post-college project. Today, he continues to design remarkable pieces and win awards.

Jackie Kennedy’s Chanel pink suit in 1963

Jackie Kennedy descendant d’un avion vêtue d’un tailleur Chanel rose

Jackie Kennedy was a true fashion icon even before officially taking on the role of first lady. She inspired an entire generation with her outfits.

It was on November 22, 1963, that the first lady wore the pink Chanel suit that made history, for several reasons. Made of bouclé fabric, with a navy blue lapel and gold buttons, this ensemble was a design from Coco Chanel’s 1961 fall/winter collection. At the time, this chic outfit was the emblem of sophistication and the modern woman.

What made it even more famous was that Jackie Kennedy wore it on the day of her husband’s tragic assassination. She then kept it the bloodied suit for hours after the death of President John F. Kennedy. In American collective memory, she becomes a symbol of pain and emotional strength.

Yves Saint Laurent’s tuxedo in 1966

Le smoking d'Yves St. Laurent au Musée de Young à San Francisco.

In its fall-winter 1966 collection, Yves Saint Laurent presents its most emblematic piece : the tuxedo. This garment, intended to be worn in a smoking room to protect one’s clothes from the smell of cigars, was originally reserved for men.

Saint Laurent’s tuxedo is not, however, an exact copy of the men’s tuxedo. He used the same codes but adapted them to the female body.

At this time, the tuxedo proved to be too far ahead of its time and was snubbed by its high fashion clientele. Only one copy was sold. Indeed, it must be remembered that thirty years earlier, the prefect of police of Paris had threatened Marlène Dietrich with arrest. She had “dared” to walk around in a man’s suit.

Lady Gaga’s meat dress in 2010

Exposition de la robe en viande de Lady Gaga

When she walked the red carpet at the VMAs in 2010, Lady Gaga was already one of the most recognizable people on the planet. She is famous for her stunning performances, outrageous interviews and songs. But that day, she was recognizable thanks to her outfit: a dress made of meat.

The dress was designed by Franc Fernandez. Gaga’s dress, bag and even tiny beret were all made from Argentinian beef.

The meat dress was intended as Gaga’s protest against the US military’s policy on sexuality. Before donning the meat dress, the singer walked the red carpet with gay veterans as guests.

Kate Middleton’s wedding dress in 2011

Mariage du prince William et de Kate Middleton à l'abbaye de Westminster

The wedding of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge is a memorable moment for many. But what we’re still talking about is Kate Middleton’s wedding dress.

Kate’s dress was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, and the Duchess worked closely with Burton on the design of the dress. She wanted to mix tradition and modernity.

The model is inspired by the lace-sleeved wedding dress that Grace Kelly wore almost half a century earlier. Having become famous, the dress sparked a wave of purchases of similar models by women for their big day.

Ilhan Omar’s Hijab in 2019

Ilhan Omar en hijab pendant une conférence

Twenty years after obtaining American citizenship, Ilhan Omar has entered the history of her adopted country. Hand on her grandfather’s Quran, she was sworn in to the US Congress, becoming the first hijab-wearing member to do so.

The scene was all the more poignant as it marked the lifting of a 181-year-old ban banning the wearing of any type of headgear on the grounds of Congress. Along with Rashida Tlaib (who does not wear a hijab), she is also one of the first two Muslim women to enter Congress, and the first Somali-American.

That day, she tweeted: “Nobody puts a scarf on my head, except me. It’s my choice – a choice protected by the First Amendment. And this is not the last ban that I will do so to lift. »

Yasmine Besbes

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