Photo by Barry King/Liaison, Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc, Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images and SGranitz/WireImage

7 of Salma Hayek's most iconic outfits

From diamond chokers and barrettes to temporary tattoos, the Mexican-American actress is Y2K’s foremost red carpet accessorizer.

by Zoë Kendall
15 October 2021, 7:00am

Photo by Barry King/Liaison, Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc, Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images and SGranitz/WireImage

Before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a Hollywood film career, Salma Hayek was a star in her native Mexico, famous for playing the leading role in the successful telenovela Teresa in the late 80s. By the late-90s, she made her Hollywood breakthrough with a string of cult flicks (Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado) and romcoms (Fools Rush In), which culminated in her Oscar-nominated turn as Frida Kahlo in the artist’s eponymously-titled biopic. Both an actress and film producer, Salma became one of the first Latina actresses to establish a massively successful movie career, stateside; with Frida, she became the very first Latina actress to earn an Academy Award nomination. Salma also came up at the turn-of-the-millennium. And as such, some of her most iconic looks take in the best of Y2K fashion — with a Salma twist, of course. Wearing chainmail handbags, bedazzled barrettes, diamond chokers and even temporary tattoos, the actress was the era’s foremost red carpet accessorizer. Here, we chart Salma’s style (and her best accessories) through a selection of her most iconic outfits.

salma hayek flipping her hair in a purple herve leger bandage dress and barrettes 1998
Photo by Barry King/Liaison

At the Lethal Weapon 4 premiere, 1998

In the mid-90s, Salma made her Hollywood breakthrough in Robert Rodriguez’ neo-Western Desperado, starring opposite Antonio Banderas. In 1996, she collaborated with the cult filmmaker again, with a small (but memorable) role in the Tarantino-penned action-horror Dusk Till Dawn. Here, two years later, Salma attends the Hollywood premiere of Lethal Weapon 4 wearing the 90s (and 00s!) favourite Hervé Leger bandage dress in a sweet lilac hue. She accessorized the look with some of the era’s favourite — and most necessary — add-ons: a diamond choker, bedazzled hair clip, beaded mini bag and metallic sandals.

salma hayek posing on the wild wild west premiere red carpet in a pink embellished dress and corset 1999
Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

At the Wild Wild West premiere, 1999

1999 was a massive year for Salma. After the success of her two Rodriguez collaborations, the actress starred opposite Will Smith in bigger-than-big-budget steampunk Western Wild Wild West and in the massively successful Kevin Smith flick Dogma. In the former, Salma plays the 19th century heroine Rita Escobar. At the film’s Hollywood premiere, the actress paid homage to the perennially-corseted character, wearing a corset-as-accessory with a matching chiffon gown.

salma hayek posing on the vmas red carpet in a black tube dress and butterfly tattoos 1999
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

At the MTV VMAs, 1999

Over the years, the MTV VMAs red carpet has been the site of some of pop culture’s most memorable and most outré looks. In honour of the event’s 1999 edition, Salma got experimental with her accessories, venturing beyond her favoured chokers and barrettes into the realm of body art. On the carpet, she paired a sleek jersey tube dress and little black sandals with a set of very turn-of-the-millennium butterfly tattoos.

salma hayek walking on the red carpet in lace up pants and a 2000s tie top at a movie premiere 1999
Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

At the Eyes Wide Shut premiere, 1999

That same year Salma pulled up to the Hollywood premiere of Eyes Wide Shut wearing one of her most quintessentially Y2K outfits, ever. A likely moodboard favourite of some of today’s foremost throwback labels, the look consisted of some of the era’s most defining trends, from lace-up leather and tie-front crop tops to cork-soled platforms and beaded chokers.

salma hayek posing on the red carpet in a fuzzy cardigan and maxi skirt amfar gala 1999
Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive/WireImage

At the amfAR gala, 1999

At the turn-of-the-millennium, Salma had the red carpet choker on lock. To the 1999 amfAR gala, the actress wore a vintage-inspired sapphire and diamond iteration of the ubiquitous 90s style. She paired the necklace with three more of the decade’s favourite styles: the fuzzy cardi, the satin maxi skirt and the chain-mail purse.

salma hayek posing on the red carpet in a two piece 14th Annual Moving Picture Ball 1999
Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

At the 14th Annual Moving Picture Ball, 1999

From tie-front tops and leather bottoms to fuzzy cardigans and satin maxis, Salma loved a red carpet two-piece. To the 1999 Annual Moving Picture Ball, the actress wore one of her favourite iterations of the outfit: a sequinned crop top and a diaphanous skirt paired with her stalwart pashmina.

salma hayek posing on the red carpet in a pink plunging slip dress at the frida premiere 2002
Photo by SGranitz/WireImage

At the Frida premiere, 2002

In 2002, Salma both co-produced and starred in Frida, a biopic about the professional and private life of artist Frida Kahlo. She earned an Academy Award nomination for her movie role, making her the first Latina actress to garner an Oscar nom. To the film’s Los Angeles premiere, the actress went back to basics, wearing the same style of plunging slip dress she wore throughout her early Hollywood career, say to the premieres of Desperado or Fools Rush In. Of course, in true Salma fashion, the actress paired the look with an elegant iteration of her early-career barrettes — and a diaphanous shawl for good measure. A perfectly accessorized look for Y2K’s queen of red carpet accessories.

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7 Iconic Outfits