Although Australia is a fair way away from the bright lights of Hollywood, it hasn’t stopped us from producing some of the world’s best known stars.
Our local actresses, in particular, are not only dominating Tinseltown side by side (CC: Margot Robbie in Barbie, and Cate Blanchett in Tár) but thanks to their stunning red carpet style, they’ve become leading tastemakers in the fashion world, too.
So to honour our homegrown icons turned red carpet favourites (as well as their Hollywood style transformations because we love a throwback), we’ve taken a look back at their then-and-now fashion evolutions to celebrate just how far they’ve come.
Keep scrolling to see them all.
The Big Little Lies star first made her Hollywood red carpet debut at the 1991 Oscars alongside Tom Cruise, whom she started opposite in Days of Thunder (pictured left). For the occasion, Nicole Kidman wore a little black velvet dress with with waist and wrist embellishment. Over the years, the statuesque actress has become one of Australia’s leading fashion icons, stepping onto the red carpet dressed by some of the world’s best fashion houses, including Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Balenciaga (her red 2007 Oscars dress will never be forgotten). Most recently, Nicole rewore her iconic Chanel dress from her 2004 No.5 ad campaign to the 2023 Met Gala.
While Rose Byrne made her local onscreen debut in Dallas Doll in 1994, she didn’t really start making red carpet appearances until the early 2000s, after landing her leading role in noughties film, The Goddess of 1967. Pictured left at the 2001 Lord of the Rings premiere in Sydney, Byrne’s earliest red carpet looks veered towards the more casual end of the spectrum (it was the 2000s, after all), but these days she is a lot more experimental with her look, as she recently reminded us when she attended her Like A Boss premiere wearing a bright pink ‘blazer’ dress in January 2020 (pictured right).
An icon of the screen and stage, Cate Blanchett is also widely regarded as one of the nation’s most fashion-forward stars. Even in some of her earliest red carpet turnouts—like her appearance at the 1998 L.A. premiere of Elizabeth where she opted for palazzo pants over a gown (pictured left alongside her husband Andrew Upton)—Blanchett showed a penchant for veering away from convention. These days, she’s is well-known for her elegant take on avant-garde dressing, frequently seen wearing Armani Privé, Dior, Giles Deacon, Mary Katrantzou and Dries van Noten—the latter of which she wore to the Berlinale Film Festival Premiere in late February 2020 (pictured right).
Like Byrne, Home and Away alum Isla Fisher also had a casual approach to red carpet dressing when she first hit the circuit in the early noughties, as demonstrated by her jeans-and-top look at the London premiere of the film Best in 2000 (pictured left). Nowadays, it’s a more formal affair, with the comedic actress typically wearing (and looking incredible in) vivid jewel tones, which she did most recently at the Golden Globe Awards in January 2020 (pictured right).
Widely considered one of Australia’s greatest Hollywood exports, Toni Collette‘s red carpet style hasn’t actually changed all that much since her early days of wearing vintage pieces from second-hand stores (as pictured left in 1995 at the Muriel’s Wedding premiere in New York). These days, of course, her quirky style is less ‘thrift store’, and more ‘Erdem’ (pictured right at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards).
Former Home and Away actress Naomi Watts has had quite the red carpet evolution. From short dresses and feathery shrugs (pictured left at the Tank Girl premiere in 1995), to glimmering in Armani Privé at the 2020 Golden Globes (right), the ascent is nothing short of spectacular.
Just like Margot Robbie’s before-and-after beauty transformation, the actress has had quite the style evolution since making the leap across the pond. Her time of sporting a strapless ‘mullet’ dress to the 2009 Logie Awards (pictured left) has long gone. These days, Robbie is well-regarded as one of Australia’s most stylish women, whether she’s wearing vintage Chanel to the 2023 Met Gala, or embracing pink for the Barbie movie press tour.
Sydney-raised actress Nathalie Kelly of Dynasty reboot fame may have favoured florals on the red carpet in the mid noughties (as pictured left in 2006), but her take on botanical prints in more recent times—and her red carpet style, in general—has since been significantly elevated (as pictured left, in 2019).
Most recently appearing alongside Margot Robbie in Babylon, Samara Weaving first cut her teeth in acting in the local TV shows Home and Away and Out of The Blue in the late 2010s. Since then, the actress has moved from body-con dresses and patent pumps (pictured left in 2010), to full-scale glamour, as shown by the coral-hued Schiaparelli gown she wore to the 2018 Oscars (pictured right). In 2023, she donned head-to-toe Louis Vuitton for our March 2023 digital cover, talking about her new status as reigning scream queen.
Bloom star Phoebe Tonkin has arguably had one of the best pre- and post-Hollywood style transformations to date. The Vampire Diaries actress has come a long way from the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards (pictured left in 2008, with her H20: Just Add Water co-stars), with Tonkin typically wearing dresses by Chanel for red carpet appearances (as pictured right, in December 2019).
Like her fellow Bloom co-star, Bella Heathcote has also raised the stakes in her red carpet game. Commencing acting in the beginning of the 2010s, the former Neighbours star’s early red carpet style has changed significantly since she first attended the Beneath Hill premiere (pictured left in 2010), with Heathcote’s donning Gucci at the NGV Fashion Gala for the end of 2019 (pictured right).
Currently starring in The Clearing alongside Miranda Otto, actress and entrepreneur Teresa Palmer has—like many of her fellow contemporaries who commenced their careers in the 2000s—has considerably changed her style over the years. From casual strapless dresses (pictured left in 2006) to statement-making gowns (pictured right in 2019), it’s quite a noteworthy evolution, to say the least.
The Clearing star Miranda Otto first burst onto the local film scene in 1991, starring in the Australian romantic comedy The Girl Who Came Late. But it was her role as the would-be warrior Eowyn in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy that catapulted her onto the world stage, forever immortalised as the woman who slayed the the Witch-King of Angmar with her iconic line, “I am no man.” And while her earliest press photos featured her dark hair (pictured left at the 1992 Australian Film Industry awards), her beauty look has favoured strawberry blonde locks in recent years.