It's Official: These Are the Best Red Carpet Looks Ever

Updated 04/20/19

As confident as we are that this award season will bring a crop of head-turning red carpet getups, we can't help but reflect on those standout looks from years or rather decades past. The Oscars, Grammys, and Golden Globes might be the coveted prizes over the coming weeks, but let's not discount the ability to stand out in a sea of fellow celebs in couture, all primped and coiffed to perfection. It's impressive!

While we look forward to the fresh new beauty looks that await us this award season, there is an assortment of iconic beauty moments that have managed to stick with us, and we thought it only fitting to pay tribute to them here. From Cher to Madonna and Audrey Hepburn to Zendaya, here are our nominees for the most memorable red carpet beauty looks of all time. Keep reading for our favorite beauty looks from past red carpets.

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Audrey Hepburn at the Oscars, 1954

Three words: Brows for days. Get the look with Eyeko Brow Liner ($20).

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Everett Collection

Marilyn Monroe at the Golden Globes, 1952

Monroe took her signature platinum coif to new heights with the help of a healthy dose of hairspray. As for the rest of her look, check out her longtime makeup artist's brilliant tips.

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Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection

Grace Kelly at the Oscars, 1955

Always the epitome of elegance, Grace Kelly had a classic, timeless approach to beauty. To achieve her frosty blonde locks, try using a purple shampoo like Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel Wash ($37).

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Elizabeth Taylor at the Golden Globes, 1957

Some people opt for the tiara-esque headband, but only Elizabeth Taylor could get away with a full-blown crown (except Princess Grace, of course). If you are all about the accessories like Taylor, try Free People Cassiopeia Bun Pin ($58) at your next special event.

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Everett Collection

Barbra Streisand at the Oscars, 1969

Hello, gorgeous. Streisand's head-to-toe mod look remains one of our very favorites. Get Streisand's high-volume hair by applying Bumble and Bumble Full Form Thickening Mousse ($30) to your roots before blow-drying.

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Cher at the Oscars, 1973

Those abs are nuts, but we're also eyeing that glossy, center-parted mane. Give your own locks some healthy-looking shine with Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil ($40).

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Lauren Hutton at the Oscars, 1975

The supermodel stepped out at the Academy Awards in a quintessentially '70s look: healthy, bronzed, and effortless. Get a similar glow with Make Solstice Bronzer ($30).

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Farrah Fawcett at the Oscars, 1978

No one ever did feathered waves as well as Farrah Fawcett—as exemplified by this disco-ready look at the 50th annual Academy Awards. To keep loose curls in place, spray your mane with a flexible hold hairspray like R + Co Outerspace Flexible Hairspray ($28).

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Cher at the Oscars, 1986

Only the inimitable Cher could make our list twice—and we're pretty sure this headdress alone qualifies as the most memorable accessory in award show history. To complement her feathered headdress, Cher sported a gorgeous purple shadow like Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Orchid ($29).

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Madonna at the Oscars, 1991

She might be channeling another icon, but leave it to Madonna to make her version just as memorable. For a bright bold lip reminiscent of Madonna as Monroe, swipe on Charlotte Tilbury Kissing Lipstick in Love Bite ($34).

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Mariah Carey at the Grammys, 1991

#TBT to Carey's first-ever Grammys, with her voluminous curls and signature brown lip on display. To get Carey's '90s pout, try a medium brown lip color like Tom Ford Lips and Boys Lipstick in Aaron ($36). 

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Drew Barrymore at the Oscars, 1998

Flower appliqués. Thin, defined brows. A vampy lip. Baby bangs. Body glitter. This is the '90s personified. Embrace the current glitter trend, and try a shimmering body lotion like Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion ($39) for a glow like Barrymore's.

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Everett Collection

Julia Roberts at the Oscars, 2001

The year she won Best Actress for her role in Erin Brockovich, Roberts also earned major props for that retro ponytail. (Or she should have, anyway—the fact that every hair stayed in place all evening is nothing short of miraculous.) If you're trying this classic look on for size, just remember that hairspray is your friend. We like R+Co Vicious ($29) for strong but flexible hold.

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Jennifer Lopez at the Oscars, 2002

The barely there green Versace dress she wore to the Grammys in 2001 might have earned more press, but we also can't forget the va-va-voom bob J.Lo sported at the Academy Awards just a year later.

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Michelle Williams at the Oscars, 2006

Everything about this Parisian look—from the red lip to the loose chignon—is just so pretty. Better yet, it works just as well in the office as it does on the red carpet. To get William's French-girl beauty look, apply Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Colour in Gabrielle ($37) to your pout.

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Lady Gaga at the Grammys, 2010

Picking just one Gaga look is no easy feat, but this one is particularly emblazoned in our memory. Maybe it's that neon yellow hair or her Barbie pink pout? While there isn't a quick fix for neon locks, there is an easy way to imitate Gaga's pout with MAC Pink Lipstick in Lovelorn ($17).

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Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars, 2011

It's hard to believe that just five years ago, Jennifer Lawrence was more ingenue than superstar—but this steamy Oscars debut was quite the coming-out party. (Try prepping skin with Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, $21, before applying makeup to get that red carpet–ready glow.) 

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Rihanna at the Grammys, 2013

As much as we love to see Rihanna push the envelope, every now and then she flawlessly reminds us that veering classic can make just as big of an impact.

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Lupita Nyong'o at the Oscars, 2014

Nyong'o looked like a veritable princess at her first Oscars—which is just as well, since she left with top honors. Try Jennifer Behr Gold-Plated Headband ($295) for a similarly regal look.

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Beyoncé at the Grammys, 2014

Queen Bey's wavy bob is memorable for a couple of reasons: It arguably launched the hairstyle (which, by the way, still shows no signs of slowing down) to new heights, and just a few minutes later, it was completely drenched during a ridiculously sexy Flashdance-inspired performance of "Drunk in Love."

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Winona Ryder at the Oscars, 1996

We loved every iteration of Winona Ryder's pixie, but this '20s-inspired coif might be our very favorite. Imitate Ryder's retro locks with the help of a curling iron and these Styling Essential Wave Clips ($10).

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Zendaya at the Oscars, 2015

But as golden as these moments all are, the future is looking exceedingly bright. (We have our money on Zendaya as the one to watch.) To get Zendaya's gorgeous glow, use Urban Decay Shimmering Powder for Face and Body ($32).

This story was originally published on January 8, 2016.

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