The Most Expensive Fashion Moments On The Academy Awards Red Carpet

When Grace Kelly won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1955, she made headlines for more than just her acting prowess. The soon-to-be princess of Monaco accepted the Oscar for "The Country Girl" in a gown that many found shocking at the time, according to PureWow, because of its hefty price tag (a whopping $4,000). The mint green dress, made from French satin, was custom-made for Kelly by the legendary costume designer Edith Head, who created the looks in such classic movies as "All About Eve," "Sabrina," and "Breakfast at Tiffany's."


The Academy Awards red carpet has come a long way since Princess Grace caused a sartorial scandal. The modern event features outfits, jewels, and brand pairings that frequently stretch from the millions to tens of millions of dollars. The annual ceremony offers both celebs and designers the opportunity to make fashion history — and extra revenue. "[The Oscars red carpet is] free marketing," Ariel Foxman, the former editor of InStyle, told Reuters in 2015. "Advertising dollars are so expensive, and marketing budgets are so fractured these days ... so [standing out on the red carpet is] more valuable than ever."

After more than 90 years of glam moments, a few of the costliest looks might surprise you. Read on for some of the most expensive fashion moments in Academy Awards red carpet history.


In 2014, Sandra Bullock embodied red carpet elegance in a $40,000 Alexander McQueen gown

Her Oscar-nominated role in "Gravity" may have launched into outer space, but for the Academy Awards red carpet in 2014, Sandra Bullock opted for classic, down-to-Earth glam. Bullock's elegant, side-swept hairstyle and roughly $8.5 million in Lorraine Schwartz jewelry accessorized her deep navy blue Alexander McQueen gown. According to StyleCaster, the McQueen dress was estimated to cost about $40,000.


While she may have kept her look low-key (despite its price tag), the significance of her second nomination wasn't lost on Bullock, who won the Best Actress Oscar in 2010 for "The Blind Side." "You know, you don't always get that opportunity. It's really hard to break out of one thing," she told The Hollywood Reporter in early 2014 of her past rom-com successes. "I just stopped doing too much and started just doing what I really, really, really loved, whether it was comedy [or] drama, and somehow I got here. I don't know how, but here I am, and I'm not taking any of it for granted."

In a $90,000 white Dior gown, Charlize Theron shined at the 2014 Oscars

You might not think a plain white dress would make much of an impact at such a glitzy event as the Oscars red carpet. But pair that dress with Charlize Theron, and you have an instant (and pricey) glam outfit. Theron, who won the Best Actress trophy for 2003's "Monster," stood out on the 2013 red carpet with her bold pixie haircut and simple, but stunning, white column gown by Dior, with an estimated worth of around $90,000.


That year, Theron gave all the credit for her look to her team. "I feel like I have nothing to do with it!" she said on the Oscars red carpet in 2013. "I work with an incredible group of talented people ... My family at Dior always look out for me ... I sometimes just really feel like a princess!"

Adding to that princess moment? Theron's nearly $16 million in Harry Winston diamond jewelry.

Kate Winslet's daughter helped pick out her $100,000 Valentino gown in 2007

Kate Winslet didn't have to look far for fashion advice when it came time to choose a gown for the 2007 Academy Awards, where she was nominated for "Little Children." The "Titanic" star's daughter, Mia, helped her pick out a dress! "She's a bit of a fashionista," Winslet said of Mia's fashion sense on "The View" (via the Mirror) in 2009, explaining further that Mia asked her why she wears so much black. Her daughter's advice? Wear any other color, except for pink, as Winslet explained, "'as no one over the age of 10 should wear pink.'"


Winslet's very not-pink silk Valentino gown was a light mint green shade with over-the-shoulder draping. Vanity Fair estimated its value at $100,000. The magazine also reported that, while on the red carpet, Winslet said she hoped Mia would inherit it one day: "Maybe she'll borrow this and play dress-up in it."

Someone stole Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars gown in 2015

For the 2015 Academy Awards red carpet, Lupita Nyong'o made a bejeweled fashion statement — literally! The actress and author, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 2013's "12 Years a Slave," brought the high glam to the event in a pearl-embellished Calvin Klein gown worth an estimated $150,000, according to Glamour. In total, the dress was covered with about 6,000 pearls! "From the onset, I wanted the dress to be graphic, yet warm and luxurious," Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein's creative director, told Vogue in 2015. "We looked at a variety of different pearls—South Sea, iridescent, and natural—and decided that the natural pearls looked the most beautiful."


Too beautiful, in fact, and too irresistible to the thief who stole Nyong'o's gown from her Los Angeles hotel room a few days after the Oscars. Crisis averted, though, as the dress was found soon after in a bathroom in the same hotel. The BBC reported at the time that the suspected thief contacted the police after he was told those 6,000-some odd pearls were not, in fact, real.

Nicole Kidman was paid $2 million to wear her iconic Oscars dress in 1997

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."


In 2013, Jennifer Lawrence made Oscars history — but not for her $4 million Dior ballgown

Grace Kelly's 1955 Academy Awards dress caused a stir with its $4,000 price tag, but Jennifer Lawrence's billowing, cream-colored, patterned Dior ballgown didn't make news for its incredible $4 million cost. Instead, Lawrence's trip up the stairs to accept her Best Actress award for "Silver Linings Playbook" in 2013 made all the headlines.


In the years since, some have questioned the authenticity of the moment, something Lawrence refuted in 2020. "They call my name and I'm elated and in shock. You kind of black out. I actually don't remember what that moment felt like when they said my name, and then I fell and it just erased everything from my mind," she said on the "Absolutely Not" podcast (via USA Today). She added, "I can look back at it now that I'm a little bit older fondly, but for a very long time the fall thing was very sensitive."

Given Lawrence's post-Oscar-win successes, she'll surely be invited back to the party. But it proves that a true moment at the Academy Awards can last forever, whether your gown is a bit too long, your suit is on backwards, or you wear a swan to Hollywood's biggest night.