Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley

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Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley
That Dress.jpg
Artist Versace
Year 1994 (1994)
Type "Safety-pin" black Versace dress

Elizabeth Hurley wore a black Versace dress, often referred to as "That Dress",[1][2] when she accompanied Hugh Grant to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. The dress was held together by several oversized gold safety pins.[3][4] The dress is perhaps Versace's best-known creation,[5] and is considered by some to be largely responsible for launching Hurley onto the global media stage.[3][6]

Design[edit]

The black dress was made from pieces of silk and lycra fabric, with oversized gold safety pins placed at "strategical places".[7] The dress was wide open at the front, from the neck down to at least half way across the bosom, with two slimline straps on the shoulders each side connected by a gold safety pin and two cut-away parts on both sides that were held together with six gold safety pins on each side and one at the top of the cut-away on each side connecting it to the bosom section. The dress is a said to be punk-inspired, "neo-punk",[5] and something which "emerged from the sari development" according to Gianni Versace himself.[2][8]

Influence[edit]

The dress is perhaps Versace's best-known creation,[5] as it received considerable global coverage in newspapers and magazines around the world for a long time after the event and was credited for boosting Hurley's profile, catapulting her from being a virtually unknown actress to worldwide media recognition.[3][6][9] Hurley has also been credited for making the Versace fashion brand a household name.[4][10] The brand has since, with its omnipresent Medusa-head logo, "defined the paradoxes of a controversial, new-generation feminism which celebrates empowerment in the act of attracting and manipulating a male gaze."[11] The dress was top in a Debenhams poll that asked 3,000 women to select their favourite iconic red-carpet dress.[3]

In 2007, a copy of the dress worn by Hurley was put on sale for the first time – with a price tag of £10,690 – at Harrods, as part of an exhibition dedicated to "the little black dress" at the London store.[12] The exhibition included the famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1963 movie Charade, as part of the Harrods Timeless Luxury promotion.

In 2012, pop singer Lady Gaga wore the dress to meet Donatella Versace in Milan.[13] Gaga recently promoted Versace by wearing archive pieces in her music video for the song The Edge of Glory.

Controversy[edit]

Hurley said of the dress, "That dress was a favour from Versace because I couldn't afford to buy one. His [Grant's] people told me they didn't have any evening wear, but there was one item left in their press office. So I tried it on and that was it."[14] However, some viewed the dress as a notorious one which was too brash, overtly sexually charged and revealing.[15][16] Hurley said in response to comments about the revealing nature of the dress, "Unlike many other designers, Versace designs clothes to celebrate the female form rather than eliminate it."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grant, Kimberly (September 2002). Miami and the Keys. Lonely Planet. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-74059-183-6. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Pedersen, Stephanie (30 November 2004). Bra: a thousand years of style, support and seduction. David & Charles. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7153-2067-9. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Urmee Khan (9 October 2008). "Liz Hurley 'safety pin' dress voted the greatest dress". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Waxler, Caroline (2004). Stocking up on sin: how to crush the market with vice-based investing. John Wiley and Sons. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-471-46513-3. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c White, Nicola; Griffiths, Ian (2000). The fashion business: theory, practice, image. Berg Publishers. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-85973-359-2. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Saren, Michael (24 May 2006). Marketing graffiti: the view from the street. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-7506-5697-9. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  7. ^ McRobbie, Angela (26 June 1998). British fashion design: rag trade or image industry?. Routledge. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-415-05781-3. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Martin, Richard Harrison; Versace, Gianni; N.Y.) (December 1997). Gianni Versace. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0-87099-842-3. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Seal, Mark (15 February 2007). Celebrated Weekends: The Stars' Guide to the Most Exciting Destinations in the World. Thomas Nelson Inc. p. 266. ISBN 978-1-4016-0243-7. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Gundle, Stephen (2008). Glamour: a history. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-921098-5. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Margary, Alex. "Versace for H&M The Film" (HTML). Metro Velvet. Retrieved 03/10/2012. 
  12. ^ "Liz Hurley's famous Versace dress on sale". The Telegraph. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Lady Gaga dares to wear That Dress", guardian.co.uk. Accessed 3 October 2012.
  14. ^ Steer, Deirdre Clancy (April 2009). The 1980s and 1990s. Infobase Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-60413-386-8. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  15. ^ D'Epiro, Peter; Pinkowish, Mary Desmond (2 October 2001). Sprezzatura: 50 ways Italian genius shaped the world. Anchor Books. ISBN 978-0-385-72019-9. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  16. ^ Bruzzi, Stella; Gibson, Pamela Church (2000). Fashion cultures: theories, explorations, and analysis. Routledge. p. 341. ISBN 978-0-415-20685-3. Retrieved 1 May 2011.