FASHION

Giorgio Armani's Best Celebrity Fashion Moments: From Diane Keaton to Cate Blanchett

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 Cate Blanchett winner of Best Performance
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It’s funny to think that Giorgio Armani’s first collection as a designer, presented back in 1976, was solely menswear. Of course, the Italian-born designer is still known for his gorgeous tuxes and suits, but it is his gowns that take up a large part of his legacy—the shimmery, elegant creations that are as much of a staple at Hollywood events as the red carpet itself.

Armani revolutionized celebrity dressing. He was the first designer who approached celebrities and ask to dress them for events, hiring a former society journalist, Wanda McDaniel, in the late ’80s to help him build relationships with the stars. The plan was so successful that by 1990, so many celebrities were wearing Armani on the Oscars red carpet, Women’s Wear Daily dubbed the event, “The Armani Awards.” When the designer first had the idea, though, he wasn’t placing them in the paillette-covered gowns we now associate with his couture line, Armani Privé. Instead, he pushed more subdued looks. “The new establishment no longer saw themselves all glamour, sequinned and sparkling divas,” he told The Telegraph in 2014. “Celebrities wanted to wear clothing that enhanced them but were not costumes, and it was exactly the type of revolution I was endorsing in the fashion world.” He started with Diane Keaton, the first actress to wear Armani on the red carpet, and before long, everyone was clamoring for his designs. These days, designers dressing celebrities for awards and events is a no-brainer, but it all started with Armani. Now, in honor of the designer’s 90th birthday, we’re looking back at over four decades of celebrity dressing, from the man who started it all.

Diane Keaton
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While Armani is, of course, known for the many gorgeous gowns he designed for the women of Hollywood over the years, he also created many androgynous, traditionally masculine looks for actresses to wear to events. In fact, Armani’s first-ever red carpet creation was pretty out of the box. He designed a look for Diane Keaton in 1978, featuring a tan jacket and striped, layered skirt, which she wore to accept the Best Actress award for her performance in Annie Hall. “Someone like Diane had a completely different idea of what the image of stardom should be—she wanted to be a relatable person first, a star second,” Armani told Grazia in 2020. “You can see how Diane makes a tailored jacket—in a style normally associated with a man’s suit—look thoroughly modern and individual.”

Julia Roberts
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Of course, Keaton’s Oscar moment was hardly Armani’s only suiting win. Julia Roberts’ oversized suit from the 1990 Golden Globe Awards is still considered one of the most influential red carpet moments in history. And while Armani did design the set, Roberts actually bought it off the rack. “I loved the shape of it,” she told Instyle in 2014. “For me, this was the epitome of being dressed up.”

Jodie Foster
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When Jodie Foster won her first Oscar in 1989 for her performance in The Accused, she accepted the award in an off-the-rack periwinkle ruched knee-length dress with an added bustle. Despite her big win that night, the look landed her on many worst dressed lists, so, three years later, when she returned to the ceremony with a nomination for The Silence of the Lambs, she tapped Armani to dress her for the occasion. He took a very different approach, putting the actress in a white tuxedo with sparkling pants and satin gloves. “It was fun putting an actress in a traditionally male style at an event where women usually wear dramatic and often overblown evening gowns,” he told Grazie. “Even today, after more than 30 years, I still have the pleasure of dressing her for all important occasions.”

Julia Roberts
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Julia Roberts’s champagne-hued dress for the 2004 Oscars was inspired by Katherine Hepburn. “Julia is one of those people who simply exudes star quality, like an old-school Hollywood leading lady of the golden era,” Armani said. “So I thought, why not create a dress that evokes a sense of timeless style, an updated traditional approach if you like, and let Julia’s charisma—and that great smile—do all the talking?”

Charlize Theron
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Charlize Theron requested to wear this dress to the 2005 SAG Awards after seeing it walk in Armani’s first-ever Armani Privé collection, which began during the spring/summer 2005 couture season.

Katie Holmes
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Not only did Armani design Katie Holmes’ gown for her Italian wedding to Tom Cruise in 2006, but he also designed the actor’s tux, as well as looks for the entire wedding party. Armani also attended the event, and provided a second, champagne-colored gown for Holmes to change into during the reception.

Beyoncé
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In 2007, Beyoncé became the face of the fragrance, Emporio Armani Diamonds. That same year, she also wore a sea foam green dress by Armani to the Academy Awards.

Victoria Beckham
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Armani was one of the four chairs of the 2008 Met Gala, themed “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy,” and he also dressed Victoria Beckham for the evening, putting her in a white, sheer beaded dress from his fall 1989 collection.

Katie Holmes
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Holmes also wore vintage Armani to the 2008 Met Gala, attending the event in a red, strapless fall 1993 dress just two years after the designer dressed her for her wedding.

Beyoncé
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Fifteen years before the Renaissance tour, Beyoncé was already working with major designers, turning their looks into stage wear. At the 2008 American Music Awards, the singer wore an Armani creation to perform her hit single, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”

Anne Hathaway
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For awhile, Anne Hathaway rarely took on a red carpet without an Armani creation on her back. Over the years, she attended many events in some gorgeous designs, but this paillette-covered, iridescent dress from the 2009 Oscars may be the best to result from the relationship.

Lady Gaga
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Lady Gaga really pushed Armani out of his comfort zone. He designed this orbiting dress for the pop star to wear to the 2010 Grammy Awards and would then go on to design looks for both her Monster Ball and Born This Way Ball tours.

Anne Hathaway
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Armani has been dressing Oscar hosts since the ’80s, suiting up everyone from Billy Crystal to Whoopi Goldberg for the big moment. In 2011, though, Hathaway became the first host to wear Armani Privé specifically, taking the stage in a liquid blue off-the-shoulder gown at one point during her evening in the spotlight.

Rihanna
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While Armani Privé dresses are usually known for the sequins and sparkle, Rihanna and Armani mixed things up a bit when the singer attended the 2012 Grammy Awards in a simple, black Armani Privé dress with a low-cut neckline and slit.

Jodie Foster
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It’s fitting that when Foster was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes in 2013, she asked her longtime friend, Armani, to design a dress for her, 21 years after he dressed her for the first time.

Cate Blanchett
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The year Cate Blanchett took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in Blue Jasmine, she did so in a gorgeous Armani gown covered in embellishments. The actress told People that she actually decided on this specific dress just 10 minutes before she left for the red carpet, though the other choices she was deciding between were also Armani creations.

Elle Fanning
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Now, a whole new generation of actresses are looking toward Armani to dress them for major events. When Elle Fanning walked the red carpet at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick, she did so in a romantic, pink Armani creation. “@Giorgioarmani made my dreams come true with this custom dress,” Fanning wrote in an Instagram caption. “Can I just wear it every day of my life?!!? I can’t thank you enough for your continued kindness and artistry. Your work is nothing short of breathtaking.”

Michelle Yeoh
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Michelle Yeoh’s awards run for Everything Everywhere All At Once in 2023 was matched only by her red carpet run. One of the most note-worthy gowns to come from this parade of elegance was, without a doubt, the shimmering Armani Privé number she wore to the Golden Globes, where she won Best Actress for her role in the film. A gorgeous midnight blue sequined number with a column skirt and peplum tiers at the waist, the actress looked like a starry night sky when accepting her much-deserved award.

Lily Gladstone
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Lily Gladstone’s red-hot Armani Privé dress was a showstopper on the 2024 SAG red carpet. According to Harper’s Bazaar, the crystal-adorned neck detail took 11 hours of work, and featured Swarovski crystals in the brand’s Siam red tone. From there, cascades of red fringe shaped Gladstone’s body and danced around her as she walked the carpet.

Zendaya
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Zendaya seemingly paid homage to the biggest films of the year at the 2024 Academy Awards, wearing an Armani Privé gown that combined both the sensibilities of Barbie and Oppenheimer. A black corset covered in gunmetal paillettes peeked out from behind dusty rose fabric featuring a palm tree motif, allowing for a classic red carpet silhouette with a touch of whimsy.

Lupita Nyong'o
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Also showing up to the 2024 Oscars in Armani Privé was Lupits Nyong’o, who used the opportunity to pay homage to her Best Supporting Actress win ten years prior. The pale blue, embellished gown featuring a peplum and hemline of feathers referenced the similarly-colored Prada number the actress wore in 2014 when she became an Oscar winner for her performance in 12 Years a Slave.

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