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100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein

From Julia Roberts' red gown in Pretty Woman to Marilyn Monroe's iconic Travilla gown from the Seven Year Itch, InStyle magazine's longtime fashion editor Hal Rubenstein has chronicled 100 iconic dresses in his 100 Unforgettable Dresses...
by Archana Chaudhary

100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein

Dresses worn by famous faces including Marilyn Monroe, Kate Middleton and Grace Kelly have been named in a new book listing the most unforgettable dresses of all time by InStyle magazine's longtime fashion director Hal Rubenstein.

The collection delves across nine decades and chooses dresses from blockbusters, defining silver screen moments, red-carpet appearances, TV sitcoms and special events. Rubenstein has selected the gowns he feels have staying power in terms of style and design. Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe features in the book for her 1962 Happy Birthday gown designed by Jean Louis. The Misfits actress wore a flesh-colored soufflé mesh embellished with 2,500 sequins and beads to sing happy birthday to the American president of the time, JFK.

Monroe's white blowing dress, which appears in a much screened scene from the 1954 film Seven-Year Itch, which has been recreated numerous times for ad campaigns, pop videos and even in Hindi films, also features in the book. "The image of Marilyn Monroe giggling while standing over a subway grate in Travilla's white halter dress has been gauged as the second-most-marketed screen image of all time; only King Kong holding Fay Wray has her beat. Why the continued frenzy for an almost sixty-year-old summer halter? Because of how it looked on the woman who wore it. As an icon, Marilyn is still regarded as a watermark or beauty, sexual joy, and innocence. Her uncensored blush of celebration is what's at the heart of this dress's appeal..." Writes Rubenstein in the book.

Other dresses that feature in the book include the red show-stopping gown worn by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (1990), a dress worn by Grace Kelly in the 1954 Hitchcock film Rear Window and the wedding dress donned by the Duchess of Cambridge aka Kate Middleton in 2011. There is also a whole section dedicated to Audrey Hepburn, her inimitably coy poise lapping up the flattering lines of Givenchy, Cecil Beaton and the sparkling metalwork of Paco Rabanne's disco-ball like dress.

While Rubenstein's book details only dresses worn by international celebrities and Hollywood actresses, brings you iconic dresses worn by some of our Bollywood ladies...

Madhuri Dixit and her purple sari, stone encrusted sari from Hum Aapke Hai Kaun played a huge role in the film's success and became dubbed as the Didi Tera Devar outfit. Rangeela and fashion designed Manish Malhotra changed the way Bollywood looked at costume designing. The film was not just the makeover of Urmila Matondkar from a gawky teenager to an A-list actress but it was also the makeover of fashion in Bollywood. The film kick-started a trend of short, frilly dresses, east-meets-west fusion dresses.

To damn with her homely image, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan displayed her saucy and seductive side in the hugely popular item number in a deep neck choli and glitzy lehenga in Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli.

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