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15 Of The Most Iconic Costumes In Oscar History

The Most Memorable Film Costumes Ever

Costume has the ability to transport viewers to another place entirely and as esteemed eight time Academy Award winning costume designer Edith Head said ‘What a costume designer does is a cross between magic and camouflage. We create the illusion of changing the actors into what they are not.’ So to celebrate this weekend’s 88th Academy Awards on February 28th Stylight has collated 15 of the most iconic costumes in Oscar history that were worthy of an award in their own right! From historical robes and classic gowns to fantasy costumes and swanky suits we take a look back at the most fashionable moments in film.

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The Oscars and Costume Design

What many people don’t know is that for the first 21 years on the Oscars there was actually no award for ‘Best Costume Design’. Unbelievably this prize was only recognised in 1949 and since then the undisputed queen of costume design is undoubtedly Edith Head who has been nominated a staggering 35 times and has won 8 times. This year we’re pinning our hopes on costume designer Jacqueline West who worked on wilderness epic The Revenant, and is responsible for Leo’s real grizzly bear skin costumes!

  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Gone with the wind by Stylight
  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Titanic by Stylight
  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Mary Poppins by Stylight

Classic Moments

A successful historic costume has the power to transport and immerse viewers into another era. However they often require extensive research and a meticulous attention to detail. Just think back to silver screen siren Vivien Leigh’s authentic Southern style dresses in Gone with the Wind or Kate Winslet’s precious looks in Titanic - so much of the movie’s success is down to costume!

Fantasy Costumes

Fantasy films allow both costume and set designers to really let loose, these no holds barred movies such as Alice in Wonderland or The Lord of The Rings give designers great freedom and therefore result in some truly creative costumes! Nab the Mad Hatter's jacket by shopping brown winter jackets on Stylight!

  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Alice in wonderland mad hatter by Stylight
  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Lord of the rings by Stylight
  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Grand Budapest Hotel by Stylight
  • Iconic Oscar Costumes - Black Swan tutu by Stylight
  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Great Gatsby by Stylight

Dreamy Dresses

While some costumes need dirt, blood or tatters to look authentic there are others that are simply allowed to look beautiful. Take Natalie Portman’s Black Swan costume: the gorgeous tutu was made out of black tulle and studded with Swarovski crystals as well as black feathers for a magical look. Although costume designer Amy Westcott famously didn’t get awarded for this design we still believe that it’s one of the most stunning film costumes of all time. Carey Mulligan also looked stunning in her crystal dress in The Great Gatsby which was a collaboration between costume designer Catherine Martin and Italian fashion house, Prada. The beautiful design earned Martin a well-deserved Oscar in 2013. Channel your very own Black Swan ballet look with heavily embellished Needle & Thread dresses.

Nominees 2016

The choice for this years Best Costume Design Oscar will be tough! With strong contenders The Danish Girl (Paco Delgado) Cinderella and Carol (both Sandy Powell) all nominated. All three feature beautiful, period costumes so are likely to be winners but that’s not to say post-apocalyptic epic Mad Max: Fury Road (Jenny Beavan) couldn’t nab the price or of course The Revenant (Jacqueline West) - just remember, 2003 saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King take home the oscar for best costumes - probably Frodo’s most fashionable win ever!

  • Iconic Oscar Costumes - The Revenant by Stylight
  • Iconic Oscar Costumes - Danish Girl by Stylight

Behind the Scenes – From My Fair Lady to The Revenant

Movie costumes are part of movie history and sometimes become more iconic than the film itself. The famous Ascot dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in My Fair Lady was auctioned for a whopping $3.7 million in 2011! Some actors are even willing to suffer for the perfect film costume: Nicole Kidman was so desperate to have an 18-inch waist on the set of Moulin Rouge that she broke a rib whilst getting into the corseted costume. Ouch!

  • Iconic Oscar Costumes - My Fair Lady White dress by Stylight
  • Most Iconic Oscars Costumes - Moulin Rouge by Stylight

Which is your favorite movie costume of all time?