The 20 Best Red Carpet Looks of the Decade

8:00 AM 12/23/2019

by Ingrid Schmidt and Vincent Boucher

Billy Porter, Lady Gaga, Amal Clooney — and the 2018 fashion blackout — top the list of memorable style triumphs from the 2010s.

Billy Porter, Lady Gaga, Amal Clooney
Billy Porter, Lady Gaga, Amal Clooney
Dan MacMedan/Getty Images; Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Dominique Charriau/WireImage

With the launch of Instagram in 2010, red carpet style came into sharper focus during the last decade, with the full power of social media and a digital age pushing it forward. Amidst the moment-by-moment wash of images, The Hollywood Reporter picked the 20 looks that stood out as particularly influential.

Some are tipping points of trends to come (Beyoncé's semi-naked dress at the 2014 Grammys and Gwyneth's cape dress at the 2012 Oscars), style signals with deeper cultural significance (Billy Porter's gender-bending or the fashion blackout in 2018), “a star is born” markers of fashion influencers on the rise (Amal Clooney at Cannes in 2016 or Lupita Nyong'o's awards season run in 2014) or simply outfits so unforgettable that they set Twitter on fire, spawned memes and were impossible to get out of mind even years after the fact (Rihanna's 2015 yellow fur Met Gala gown and Angelina Jolie's leg-revealing black Versace dress in 2012).

Arguably the most monumental moment was the fashion blackout at the 2018 Golden Globes that made a statement in support of the Time's Up movement to fight sexual abuse and to promote gender equality in Hollywood. 

This year, Pose star Billy Porter has championed gender fluidity on the red carpet — most notably in the black velvet tuxedo gown and bolero jacket by fashion designer Christian Siriano at the 91st Academy Awards. This ensemble was so statement-making and culturally significant that it swept THR’s lists of  Best Looks of 2019 and Wildest Looks of 2019, as well as this list and the Wildest Looks of the Decade

And then there was J. Lo's redux of that barely-there, jungle-print Versace dress from the 2000 Grammys during the Versace show at spring 2020 Milan Fashion Week. Both moments (twenty years apart) went viral. So this, too, had to land on our Best of 2019 and Best of the Decade lists of sartorial milestones. 

Of course, this best-dressed list is by no means all-inclusive or definitive; there are certainly many more Hollywood moments that are equally memorable. As a starting point, our red carpet roundup includes 20 fashion high points from the last 10 years, in no particular order.

  • Golden Globes Blackout

    Golden Globes 2018

    The women and men in Hollywood made a statement of solidarity in support of the Time’s Up initiative to fight sexual abuse and promote gender equality by wearing black on the red carpet at the 75th Golden Globe awards in January 2018. Eight female activists accompanied stars on the carpet to help turn the discussion to gender issues. The power of the Time’s Up movement continues to reverberate in Hollywood and beyond.

  • Billy Porter

    Oscars 2019

    The Emmy-winning, boundary-pushing Pose star wowed at every red carpet opportunity, blazing the way for non-binary fashion with a series of winning gender-fluid looks. At the Oscars in 2019, he stepped out in a gender-bending, tuxedo-inspired black velvet bolero jacket and ballgown custom-made by New York-based fashion designer Christian Siriano, known for his inclusive designs. Just ahead of the Emmys, Porter (styled by Sam Ratelle) told THR, "My goal was to start a conversation where gender has no place in fashion."

  • Lady Gaga

    Venice Film Festival 2018

    For her debut movie premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Fest, the A Star Is Born actress stunned in a voluminous pink feathered organza Valentino haute couture gown, designed by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, with an intricately twisted updo and Chopard diamond earrings. Styled by Tom Eerebout and Sandra Amador, Gaga dominated the red carpet with her glamour, even in the midst of a rainstorm.

  • Amal Clooney

    Cannes Film Festival 2016

    On the arm of husband George Clooney at the Money Monster premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, human rights attorney Amal Clooney made an unforgettable red carpet debut in a lemon yellow, silk chiffon Atelier Versace gown. She styled the one-shoulder gown with a thigh-high slit and an attached train with colorful Cartier drop earrings and red lipstick, marking her first major moment as a style star.

  • Angelina Jolie

    Oscars 2012

    Another famous fashion moment was Angelina Jolie’s leg-revealing pose in a strapless black velvet Atelier Versace gown with a high side slit at the 84th annual Academy Awards in 2012, which she attended with then-husband Brad Pitt. The look went viral and inspired a Twitter handle called @Angiesrightleg that picked up more than 14,000 followers in one day.

  • Nicole Kidman

    SAG Awards 2017

    Talk about flights of fancy. At the 2017 Screen Actors Guild awards, Nicole Kidman wowed in a sequined green Gucci gown. The dramatic dress with a plunging neckline was embellished with beaded parrot motifs on the shoulders, fringe on the sleeves and a ruffled skirt. She accessorized with Fred Leighton diamond-and-onyx arrow earrings, Fred Leighton diamond rings, a Kotur clutch and strappy Stuart Weitzman sandals.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    Oscars 2014

    Nyong’o ran out the fashion clock in the awards’ run-up in 2014 (with the help of stylist Micaela Erlanger) in a succession of unforgettable looks, including a fiery orange caped Ralph Lauren gown at the Golden Globes.  But on Oscars night, she had a true Cinderella moment in a watery blue, custom-made chiffon gown from Prada that was unabashedly pretty and as joyous as the star’s exuberant smile as she won Best Supporting Actress for her role in 12 Years A Slave. She accessorized with a Fred Leighton headband and jewels.

     

  • Emma Stone

    Oscars 2017

    It was a golden moment (in more ways than one) for Emma Stone at the 2017 Academy Awards. She not only took home the prize for best actress for her role in La La Land, but she twinned with her Oscars statuette in a ’20s-inspired, Swarovski crystal-embroidered lace Givenchy haute couture gown with tiered, beaded fringe in a nod to the Old Hollywood vibe of the film. Designed by Riccardo Tisci, the dress took 1,700 hours to make.  With the help of her stylist Petra Flannery, Stone accessorized by Tiffany & Co. drop earrings and a Planned Parenthood pin.

  • Rihanna

    Met Gala 2015

    AP Images/Invision

    Attending the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Met Gala in 2015, Rihanna showed up in a dramatic ensemble by Beijing-based couturier Guo Pei. The caped haute couture gown took up to two years to construct from fox fur and "lots of gold thread" and was first shown in 2010 but never worn on the red carpet until Rihanna contacted the designer. The star handled its 55-pound weight like a pro, while walking up the grand staircase. 

     

  • Elle Fanning

    Berlin Film Festival 2018

    Channeling Grace Kelly in an ivory Valentino haute couture gown with a crimson cape and an ice blue satin ribbon belt cinched with a bow, Elle Fanning had a fairytale fashion moment at the premiere of Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs during the 2018 Berlin Film Festival. Styled by Samantha McMillen, the youngest Fanning sister swept her hair up in a bun and let the gown speak for itself, sans accessories.

  • Chadwick Boseman

    'Black Panther' Premiere 2018

    An international round of red carpets made the Black Panther star a men’s fashion superhero, as he championed a string of premieres and awards shows (with stylist Ashley Weston) to showcase his innovative style. He brought his A-game to the 90th Academy Awards, looking fierce in a spring 2018 Givenchy haute couture look: A long, black suit jacket decorated with armor-like silver embellishment, with a matching solid-black shirt and trousers and shoes finished with silver zippers.

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    Oscars 2013

    What girl doesn’t want to look like a princess sometimes — especially on Oscars night? The best actress winner for Silver Linings Playbook in 2013 was royally gowned in a strapless Dior haute couture gown in the palest of pinks by then-designer Raf Simons, paired with diamond earrings and a single-strand diamond necklace by Chopard, plus Roger Vivier heels. While the billowing skirt gave her pause when she took a small tumble going onstage to accept her award, it gave the beauty of the gown more airtime, and she looked like she was on top of the world.

  • Jared Leto

    Oscars 2015

    While this look may pale in comparison to his more recent over-the-top style moves in Gucci (which began the following year), Jared Leto led the way for men to take more risks on the red carpet with his creative-meets-classic look at the 2015 Academy Awards. Taking home the best supporting actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, Leto rocked a custom-made lilac Givenchy tuxedo with a pink floral brooch on one lapel and a Fred Leighton Art Deco onyx-and-diamond bar brooch on the other, paired with a white tuxedo shirt, white bow-tie and white lace-up brogues.

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Milan Fashion Week 2019

    J. Lo shut down Milan Fashion Week at the Versace spring 2020 show in that jungle-print dress that she made forever iconic on the red carpet at the Grammys in 2000 — and reportedly led to the creation of Google Image Search. Both moments, twenty years apart, went viral. The fashion redux included a new riff on the frock that was even more barely-there than the original design with the ever-plunging neckline. And the 50-year-old singer-actor rocked the runway, looking better than ever.

  • Beyoncé

    Grammys 2014

    As the decade unspooled, the "nude" dress became more and more undressed with each consecutive red carpet (including Bey's own stunning bejeweled, barely-there Givenchy gown at the 2015 Met Gala). But the pop star's 2014 Grammys ensemble was a precursor to the trend that still left a little to the imagination. Crafted of white lace with a nude mesh underlay by fashion designer Michael Costello, the mermaid gown's peek-a-boo effect was more fun than flashy. And her new cropped blonde hairdo finished off the fresh look.

  • Timothee Chalamet

    Venice Film Festival 2019

    Timothée Chalamet once again broke all the red carpet rules (and blew up Twitter) at the Venice Film Festival premiere of The King. The 23-year-old styled himself in a silvery-gray, single-breasted satin suit with a double-banded waist sash from the spring 2020 collection of his fave designer Haider Ackermann. His devil-may-care attitude was deftly revealed in the pant cuffs, imprecisely rolled to reveal easygoing black boots. Because he can.

     

  • Blake Lively

    Cannes Film Festival 2014

    Blake Lively made headlines for killing it in the style department at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Supporting husband Ryan Reynolds at the Captives premiere, she radiated Old Hollywood elegance in a black-and-white silk crepe strapless Gucci Premiere gown with a full skirt, paired with Lorraine Schwartz jewelry boasting over 180 carats of diamonds.

  • Ryan Gosling

    Cannes Film Festival 2011

    By the end of the decade, the red carpet was awash in colorful tuxedos, but Gosling goosed the trend when he showed up at Cannes in 2011 for Drive. The actor wore bold-hued Ferragamo tuxedos for two nights running — in sapphire blue and then rich claret; thereby opening the formalwear floodgates for men who were ready to ditch the traditional black penguin suit.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    Oscars 2012

    With her elegant Tom Ford creation (and a boost from stylist Elizabeth Saltzman), Paltrow became fashion’s caped crusader, swooping in as a presenter at the 2012 Academy Awards. In the years that followed, many stars would follow her example with a cloaked shoulder, but the clean lines and celestial ivory shade of Paltrow’s made it the iconic version.

  • Cate Blanchett

    Oscars 2011

    The quintessentially fashionable actress turned up at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in 2011 in a pleated lilac gown encrusted with pearls and slaked with an unexpected dash of chartreuse that continued on the back of the dress. The work of then-Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci, the haute couture confection (paired with Van Cleef & Arpels jewels) was both delicately romantic and strong, with bold shoulders and the dramatic color pop.