In anticipation of Sunday’s 86th Academy Awards, Mediarun Digital, a British marketing agency, created this chart showing the dresses worn by all the winners of the Best Actress award, starting with Janet Gaynor in 1929.
It’s an intriguing, if cursory, look at fashion over the years, from the Peter Pan-collared frock Gaynor wore to that first Oscars ceremony to the sweeping Dior Couture dress Jennifer Lawrence wore last year.
Only a few design houses appear more than once. Armani ruled the 90’s: Jessica Tandy wore the label in 1990, as did Jodie Foster in 1992. Christian Dior has also dressed two best actress winners (Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon in 2006). Helen Hunt wore Gucci in 1998, back when Tom Ford was at the helm, and the label dressed Charlize Theron in 2004, when she accepted the best actress award for her work in “Monster.”
There are quite a few designs listed as unknown or “off-the-rack.” Rumor has it that Gaynor’s ensemble came from a children’s store. And before Jodie Foster hopped on the Armani train in 1992, she reportedly snagged the blue dress she wore to the 1989 ceremony from a shop in Rome.
No, the chart can’t replicate the intricate floral embossing on the Givenchy gown Audrey Hepburn wore to accept her award for “Roman Holiday” in 1954 or the metallic piping on the jumpsuit — yes, the jumpsuit — that Sissy Spacek wore when she won for “The Coal Miner’s Daughter.” But it does offer a look at the classic and (hi Cher!) quirky silhouettes we’ve seen throughout Oscar history.
Thanks to Mediarun for the use of the above image.
– Bethonie Butler
Update, March 3: Mediarun has made corrections and additions to the above chart, including the Armani Privé gown worn by this year’s winner, Cate Blanchett.