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Notorious Looks That Changed Fashion Forever

Notorious Looks That Changed Fashion Forever

Adapted from WhoWhatWear

One could look at the major fashion shows each year and legitimately claim that all fashion is a risk but looking back in time, there are a few iconic moments in history that required major sartorial nerve. Most fashion moments don’t last but these trends have stood the test of time and while they come and go, it seems that they always return, often updated, but always there. These are my moments. What are yours?

little black dress silhouetteThe Little Black Dress

Vogue published a drawing of a little black dress designed by Coco Chanel in 1926, and many say it is because of that the popularity of the LBD was ignited. A little black dress is now a staple of nearly every woman’s wardrobe, and no one thinks twice about seeing a woman in all black. But the LBD wasn’t always the ultimate go-to look. For a fascinating look at the dark dress’ historical significance prior to this time, check out this post from Racked.com You won’t believe the sexy history behind this iconic dress. Before the early 1900s, the black dress sent another, more scandalous message.

The New Look

the new look from DiorIn 1947 Christian Dior introduced a silhouette that was a dramatic departure from the wartime styles most were accustomed to. The fashion press called the rounded shoulder, slim waistline, and mid-calf hemline “The New Look”, which surprisingly was the first time the term “look” had been used to describe one’s overall style.

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year ItchMarilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The blonde bombshell’s iconic flying dress is perhaps one of the most recognized images in the world. Monroe stepped onto a subway grate, revealing her undergarments, and setting the stage for fearless female sexuality for years to come.

Jean Shrimpton at the Melbourne Cup Carnival

Jean Shrimpton's at the Melbourne Cup Carnival

“I was surrounded by cameramen, all on their knees like proposing Victorian swains, shooting upwards to make my skirt look even shorter. I had no idea this was going to happen—this was publicity that I certainly had not planned,” Shrimpton said of her 1965 appearance at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Though attending a horse race in a shift dress and kitten heels hardly sounds indecent, compared to other guests in dresses below the knees with hats and gloves, Shrimpton was a scandal and a sensation.

Vivienne Westwoods Punk lookVivienne Westwood’s Punk

Often dubbed the queen of punk, Westwood popularized the underground movement in London in the late 1970s with her designs and notorious “Sex” store. Though you no doubt know about punk, and probably don’t find it to be very shocking, at the time these safety pin-embellished youths were startling to the general population.

Cher at the Oscars

Cher at the OscarsIn 1988 Cher arrived to the Oscars in a head-to-toe sheer Bob Mackie dress and snagged plenty of looks at the traditionally conservative event. In addition to acting and singing her way to the top, Cher will always be remembered for her bold fashion sense. Cher took the stage to accept the Best Actress Oscar for “Moonstruck,” beating Meryl Streep and capturing the attention of fashion lovers everywhere.

The Grunge CollectionThe Grunge Collection


In 1992 Marc Jacobs, the grunge-obsessed, newly-appointed creative director at Perry Ellis sent his models down the runway in flannels, Doc Martens, crocheted beanies, and layers upon layers. Though this surprised and intrigued the fashion industry, unfortunately the powers that be weren’t as pleased. He was shortly after fired, but we all know how this story ends.

Suddenly every thrift store in town couldn’t keep a flannel shirt in stock to save their backs. Teens were digging through dad’s box of old clothes to get their hands on some authentic hole-ridden jeans to wear over top of their long john stockings. And because of the growing popularity of hip hop music among the suburban community, urban styles were seen everywhere, not just in the big city. By the late 1990s hip hop style was arguably the most popular among young people.
And some say, this was the end of real fashion in the U.S.

Madonna’s Cone Corset

Madona's cone corsetWhen we think of Madonna, one of the most common images to come to mind would be that risqué cone corset she wore on her 1990 Blond Ambition #world tour. Designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, it popularised the trend of underwear as outerwear and even eveningwear!

Jennifer Lopez in VersaceJennifer Lopez in Versace

It’s been almost 15 years since Jennifer Lopez sauntered around the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in perhaps the plungiest of plunging necklines to ever be created. Even to this day, her barely there dress tops most memorable look lists. The dress has been voted the 5th most iconic dress of all times.


Each of these looks was special for its time. The little black dress is a perennial classic as is the Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe look even today.  Jean Shrimpton’s simple shift dress considered a mini in the early 70s, is one of today’s most popular and worn styles by fashion icons like Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama. Cher’s see through dress, J Lo’s plunging neckline and that marvelous cone corset are still seen on the red carpet and in special shows as perhaps they are a bit more daring. What isn’t daring and unfortunately has become all too commonplace today is the punk and grunge looks. It’s all too obvious why the retro look is becoming more popular today and some women (and us) try to recreate those wonderful styles of the past



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