Ever since he founded his namesake label in 1959, Valentino Garavani’s designs have found themselves on the back of some of the world’s most glamorous women, attracting everyone from British royalty to Hollywood A-listers. His romantic gowns make for the perfect red carpet moments—beautiful and feminine, but never excessive to the point where they take away from the actor wearing them. It’s because of this balance that most rankings of the “Best Oscar Dresses of All Time” feature many Valentino moments, like Julia Roberts’ black and white vintage gown from 2001 or Jennifer Lopez’s Jackie O inspired moment from 2003. But Valentino’s dresses don’t just turn heads at the Oscars, but also at premieres, film festivals, and even weddings. Valentino has maintained close relationships with many stars over the years, and when it’s been time for them to say “I do,” they’ve often tapped the designer for a custom look.
Even now, 15 years after Valentino retired from the brand, his designs are still popping up on red carpets, proving their staying power. A living legend, Valentino is already considered one of the best designers to send his pieces down a runway, but no where is his work on better display than on the stars of the past 60+ years. From Jackie O to Anne Hathaway, here’s a look at Valentino’s best celebrity moments of all time.
According to Valentino, after Elizabeth Taylor wore a gown from the brand to the
Spartacus premiere in 1961 (where she danced with Kirk Douglas), she showed up to the Valentino headquarters in Rome for more pieces. “She said, ‘Oh, you have so much publicity with me today—I deserve this, this, this,’” Valentinto’s business partner Giancarlo Giammetti recalled. Of course, Giammetti and Valentino provided Taylor with the pieces she desired and it began a longstanding relationship between the house and the actress.
After initially discovering Valentino around 1964, the former-first lady was immediately taken with the designer and purchased six couture dresses from him. She would go on to wear the pieces throughout her mourning period for John F. Kennedy. Then, when she prepared to marry her second husband, Aristotle Onassis, in 1968, she once again turned to Valentino, choosing a white, long-sleeved chantilly lace dress with a short pleated skirt from the designer’s famous all-white 1968 spring collection for the ceremony.
Jackie Kennedy had many iconic style moments through the years, and the green asymmetric Valentino haute couture fall/winter 1967 dress she wore in Cambodia in 1967 is definitely one of them. In fact, the dress was so iconic, it has been recreated and reinterperted multiple times since (and one of those instances also made this list).
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W in 1984 that he owes “a big percentage of my fame” to Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and it’s easy to see why. The former-first lady often looked to Valentino to dress her for important moments. For the Met Gala in 1979, held in honor of the exhibit, “The Imperial Style: Fashions of the Habsburg Era,” she once again wore the brand, opting for a strapless gown with a tiered skirt and matching shawl.
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When Jessica Lange picked up her first Oscar in 1983 for Best Supporting Actress in
Tootsie, she wore a sequined mint green Valentino dress.
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Sophia Loren and Valentino were close friends for years, so when she was presented with an honorary Oscar in 1991, it was no surprise that she wore a dress by the designer.
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Of course, Valentino counted Princess Diana as a client as well, and in 1992, the British royal was seen wearing a velvet and lace, knee-length dress while attending an event for Paul McCartney’s live album,
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Sharon Stone looked to Valentino when promoting her film,
The Quick and the Dead, at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. Valentino designed every look the actress wore throughout the week, including a gold, beaded halter neck dress for the festival’s closing ceremony.
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The black and white Valentino couture 1992 dress Julia Roberts wore to the 2001 Academy Awards— where she picked up a Best Actress award for her performance in
Erin Brockovich—is still considered one of the best dresses to ever walk the Oscars red carpet.
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When Jennifer Lopez married her former back-up dancer, Cris Judd, in 2001, she did so in a chantilly lace Valentino gown.
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Halle Berry wore Valentino a few times on the red carpet over the years, including when she won an Emmy in 2000. This brown, ruched haute couture fall/winter 2001/2002 dress that she wore to the Golden Globes in 2002, however, is by far our favorite collaboration between the designer and star.
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Reese Witherspoon and Valentino got to know each other when she was first coming up in the industry, and he dressed her for the Golden Globes in 2000 when she was nomination for her role in
Election. Two years later, when she got invited to the Oscars for the first time, she looked to Valentino again, and wore a ‘20s inspired black beaded dress by the designer to the award ceremony.
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Kate Hudson’s patterned silk Valentino dress at the 2003 Golden Globes paid homage to her mother, Goldie Hawn, who was known for her bohemian style.
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If Lopez’s 2003 Oscar look seems familiar, it’s because it was modeled after the one-shoulder Valentino dress Jackie O wore during a trip to Cambodia in 1967. Like Robert’s vintage Valentino Oscar moment, this too is considered one of the most memorable red carpets in the award show’s history.
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When Cate Blanchett took home her first Oscar in 2005 for her appearance in
The Aviator, she did so in a yellow, one-shoulder Valentino gown with a burgundy belt and crystal shoulder detail.
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An often forgotten moment that deserves its second in the sun: Keira Knightley at the 2006 Golden Globes in a strapless, white Valentino haute couture spring/summer 2006 dress.
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Anne Hathaway and Valentino bonded when the designer made a cameo appearance in her film,
The Devil Wears Prada, and have been close friends ever since. Not only did Hathaway wear a dress created by the designer when she wed her husband, Adam Shulman, in 2012, but a year prior she wore this red hot strapless number with an added bustle to the Oscars red carpet ahead of her hosting gig.
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When it was time for the “Punk: Chaos to Couture” Met Gala, Hathaway opted to borrow a sheer, sequin-covered dress with feather cuffs from Valentino’s fall/winter 1994 haute couture collection. Plus, she brought along Valentino himself as her date for the event.
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When Gwyneth Paltrow presented the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 2019 awards, she did so in a Valentino fall/winter 1963 dress. This was hardly this first time the actress wore the brand, as she has enjoyed a close with relationship with both Valentino and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti over the years, often calling the duo her “dads.”