The road to style icon status is usually a windy one. But every once in a while, when the right girl puts on the right dress, fashion magic happens.
For Nicole Kidman, that moment was the 1997 Oscars. Arriving on the arm of Tom Cruise, the star captivated the fashion world with her chinoiserie-inspired gown designed by John Galliano for Dior. From the offbeat chartreuse color to the thigh-high slit, everything about it felt new and unexpected. And just like that, everyone was looking at Kidman, instead of her movie star husband.
Of course, like any iconic fashion moment, it was polarizing to some. But love it or not, that very dress helped turn the now-Oscar winner into a leading lady with a fashion point of view that can’t be ignored. And in the 20 years since, Kidman has continued to surprise and delight with her choices, regardless of the critics.
Remember that red Balenciaga dress with the massive bow from the 2007 Oscars? “That one was controversial,” Kidman told InStyle last year. “Some press people didn’t like it. But that kind of talk doesn’t bother me. I still liked it, especially the structure.” And it seems that everything she puts on gets people talking these days, from the green Gucci gown with feathered parrots on the shoulders that she wore to this year’s SAG Awards to her most recent red carpet wins at the Cannes Film Festival last week.
In honor of our July cover girl, we’re looking back at some of her best bold, beautiful, and yes, buzzy looks over the last two decades. Keep scrolling to find your fave.
VIDEO: Nicole Kidman Shares Her Best Fashion Advice