Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley
|Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley|
|Type||"Safety-pin" black Versace dress|
English actress and model Elizabeth Hurley wore a black Versace dress, often referred to as "THAT Dress", 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. The dress is perhaps Versace's best-known creation, and is considered by some to be largely responsible for launching Hurley onto the global media stage.
In advance of the premiere for Four Weddings and a Funeral and as a newcomer to high profile premieres, Grant had been told that he and his partner would be able to borrow designer clothing to wear to such an event. Inexperienced in such matters and relatively unknown, Hurley contacted various fashion houses asking for such a loan but was rebuffed several times because they did not know who she was. On contacting the Versace Flagship Store on Old Bond Street, Hurley spoke to Dean Aslett, Head of Womenswear and Atelier and who was also in charge of dresses loaned out for press and promotional purposes. He agreed to do Hurley a favour and loan her a dress.
The black dress was made from pieces of silk and lycra fabric, with oversized gold safety pins placed at "strategical places". The dress was wide open at the front, from the neck down to halfway across the bosom, with two slimline straps on the shoulders. Each side featured a cut-away part, held together with six gold safety pins along the side, and one at the top of either cut-away, connecting it to the bosom section. The dress is said to be punk-inspired, "neo-punk", and something which "emerged from the sari development" according to Gianni Versace himself.
The dress is perhaps Versace's best-known creation, 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, hurling her from being a virtually unknown actress to worldwide media recognition. Hurley has also been credited for making the Versace fashion brand a household name. 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." The dress topped a 2008 Debenhams' poll that asked 3,000 women to select their favourite iconic red-carpet dress. The dress was also celebrated for revolutionizing acceptable attire at red-carpet events, making it more acceptable for other actresses and celebrities to be more bold and daring.
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. The exhibition included the famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1963 movie Charade, as part of the Harrods Timeless Luxury promotion.
Some viewed the dress as too lewd or distastefully revealing. 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."
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