Believe it or not, but there have been times in the history of the Academy Awards red carpet when the fashion wasn’t a big deal. The event didn’t even adopt the tradition of a red carpet until 1961, according to Time. The very first Oscars ceremony in 1929, in fact, lasted only 15 minutes!
In 1997, Nicole Kidman’s walk down the Oscars red carpet, however, was a major moment for both fashion and branding. For the event, Kidman was reportedly paid $2 million to wear the John Galliano-designed dress for Christian Dior that differed from the typical style of Oscars fashion at the time. It was a real red carpet moment, according to producer and TV host Melissa Rivers. “That was the first true couture dress on the red carpet, and you went, ‘Wow,'” she told Vanity Fair in 2014. Rivers’ mom, iconic comedian Joan Rivers, hated the dress and didn’t hide it while covering the carpet for E! (via The Hollywood Reporter).
For her part, Kidman loved the avant-garde nature of her look, which, in 2015, Smithsonian Magazine named one of “the most influential” Oscar gowns of all time. “John [Galliano] made it for me, and I love it,” Kidman said on the red carpet that night in 1997, via The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t know if people will get it. But if they don’t, well, maybe they should.”