24 Of The Most Iconic Backless Dresses To Ever Grace The Red Carpet

These show-stopping gowns deserve an award

The red carpet is a time for some of the world’s biggest A-listers to bring their sartorial best, and some of those said occasions call for an extra special dress. Enter, the backless dress – one that many celebrities have dared to try over the years. Whether it be embellished, cut-away or jewel-encrusted, these show-stopping gowns offer up a whole lot of business-at-the-front, party-at-the-back guaranteed to leave an impression. 

As evidence would show, as some red carpet trends ebb and flow, this one has stood the test of time. Below, a look back at some of the most daring, surprising and jaw-dropping backless gown moments to date. 

Princess Diana

In 1985, the trend-setting royal put the backless trend to the red carpet attending the Back to the Future premiere in a Catherine Walker gown. 


Celine Dion

Perhaps one of Celine Dion’s most iconic looks, her backward John Galliano tuxedo the entertainer wore to the 1999 Oscars. 

Of the fashion-forward ensemble, Dion told People“When I wore that look, yes it was at the Oscars, and when I wore that, everyone was wearing dresses, not pants. I was the only one with pants in a backward suit from Galliano and if I would do this today it would work. It was avant-garde at the time. And it doesn’t matter, you just have to assume what you wear, you wear, and I did.”

celine dion

Elizabeth Hurley 

Attending the 1999 London premiere of Mickey Blue Eyes, Elizabeth Hurley stunned in a sequinned backless gown alongside then-boyfriend Hugh Grant. 


Cate Blanchett

While the Australian actress’ Jean Paul Gaultier black gown at the 2000 Academy Awards may have looked simple, it was anything but from the back. Featuring gold embellishments that matched her jewellery, Blanchett made a statement for her second time appearing at the prestigious event. 

cate blanchett

Halle Berry

For the 2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Catwoman actress went bold in a backless red gown. 

halle berry

Charlize Theron 

No stranger to the red carpet, Theron looked to Gucci for her head-to-toe look at the 2004 Academy Awards. Fitting, considering that same year the Hollywood A-lister won Best Actress for her work in Monster. 

charlize theron

Scarlett Johansson

Appearing on the jury at the 61st Venice Film Festival, actress Scarlett Johansson looked every bit old Hollywood glamour for the occasion.  


Hilary Swank

The navy blue Guy Laroche gown Swank wore to the 77th Academy Awards was voted one of the greatest red carpet gowns of all time. The actress would later go on to win the Oscar for Best Actress in Million Dollar Baby that same night. 

hilary swank

Nicole Kidman

For the Tribeca Film Festival after-party, Kidman wore a stunning black Azarro gown with sequinned embellishments. 

nicole kidman

Emily Blunt

Appearing at the 15th Screen Actors Guild Awards, Blunt arrived wearing a show-stopping sequinned Pamela Roland gown. 


Jennifer Lopez

Not afraid of a daring gown, Lopez wore a stunning gold Marchesa gown to the 2009 Golden Globes.


Kate Hudson

After that iconic How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days yellow dress moment, Kate Hudson had some serious practice in pulling off a show-stopping backless moment. For the Los Angeles premiere of The Skeleton Key in 2006, the actress opted for a sheer black gown. 

kate hudson

Taylor Swift

For Swift’s appearance at the 2010 Grammys (where she took home four major awards), the singer chose to make a serious statement in a glittering KaufmanFranco gown.

taylor swift

Anne Hathaway

For the year she was nominated as Best Actress for her work in Love & Other Drugs at the 2011 Golden Globes, Hathaway opted for an Armani Privé backless gown.  

golden globes

Diane Kruger 

Attending the Berlin Film Festival, Kruger looked to French fashion house Vionnet for her stunning yellow gown. 

Diane Kruger


For the year the future Fenty mogul was nominated in four categories at the Grammys, she wore a show-stopping Giorgio Armani gown. 


Emma Stone

The actress wowed in a long-sleeve beaded Elie Saab gown for the 2015 Academy Awards, the year she was first nominated for the accolade for her work in Birdman. 

emma stone

Miranda Kerr

For the Golden Globes after-party in 2014, the Australian entrepreneur and model wore a daring Emilio Pucci gown. 

miranda kerr

Kate Bosworth

Kate Bosworth was pretty in pink on the 2014 Met Gala red carpet, both wearing and attending with designer Stella McCartney. 

kate bosworth

Selena Gomez

For the American Music Awards, Gomez wore a jaw-dropping, open-back Givenchy dress which was altered to a midi length. 

selena gomez

Gisele Bündchen

For the year she and husband Tom Brady co-hosted the Met Gala, the model wore a sparkling Stella McCartney gown. 


Emily Ratajkowski

The model isn’t afraid to wear a skin-baring gown, turning up at the 2018 Met Gala wearing a gold Marc Jacobs number. 

em rata


For the premiere of Spiderman, Zendaya’s stylist kept the actress’ head-to-look in keeping with the night’s theme choosing a sequinned backless gown by Armani Privé“If she was Spider-Man, this would be her suit,” he wrote to Instagram following the red carpet. 


Hailey Bieber

In one of her most daring looks to date, Bieber wore an Alexander Wang “thong” dress to the Camp: Notes on Fashion Met Gala. 

hailey bieber

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