7 of Pamela Anderson's most iconic outfits
The 'Baywatch' star and 'Pam & Tommy' inspiration reimagined bombshell dressing for the 90s in diamanté, latex and lamé.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc, via Instagram and by Evan Agostini/Liaison
If each decade has a bombshell beauty, the 90s belongs to Pamela Anderson. After getting her start in the early 90s as a Playboy Playmate, the Canadian model and actress solidified her status as a cultural icon — and sex symbol — with her role on American TV stalwart Baywatch and a headline-making romance with Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. Beyond acting, however, Pam’s also made a name for herself as an activist, most notably for her ongoing work with animal rights group PETA and vocal support of (and subsequent friendship with) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In fact, the former swimsuit model has become a recent fashion plate due, in part, to her work as an activist: Pam’s environmental activism made a fan (and friend) out of Dame Vivienne Westwood, who first cast Pam as the face of her SS09 campaign.
Her stature in the world of high fashion (a Westwood runway and two Juergen Teller-lensed campaigns ain’t bad!) aside, Pam’s 90s style is eternally influential. Think the beach-y crop tops and denim cut-offs of Baywatch, Barb Wire’s leather corsets and myriad glitz-y babydoll dresses and gowns. Here, to celebrate the release of Hulu’s Pam & Tommy series, we revisit some of Pamela Anderson’s most iconic outfits of the 90s and Y2K.
At the Hollywood All-Stars Charity Baseball Game, 1992
After beginning her decade-spanning career first as a model and Playboy Playmate, Pamela rose to international fame — becoming an American cultural icon and sex symbol — for her role as lifeguard C. J. Parker on 90s TV drama Baywatch. A certain red, high-cut swimsuit has become not only synonymous with Pam’s Baywatch role, but the show has a whole. Beyond the costume department, however, Baywatch’s beachy cool coloured much of Pam’s personal style throughout the early 90s. During the show’s run, Pam attended promotional events wearing myriad denim cut-offs, tie-front crop tops, floral sundresses and crocheted sets. Here, she attends a charity baseball game wearing a henley bodysuit, cowboy boots, oval sunnies and her perennial denim cut-offs.
At Cannes Film Festival, 1995
After her roles on Baywatch and beloved sitcom Home Improvement, Pam is perhaps best known for her turn as the eponymous, leather-clad bounty hunter in 1996 superhero movie Barb Wire. To promote the film at Cannes, here, Pam put her own spin on Barb’s signature plunging, corseted look in a lace-up halter and trousers — all in black leather, of course.
With Tommy Lee at the Grammy Awards afterparty, 1995
Joining the ranks of iconic couples from Iman and David Bowie to Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger, Pam and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee are a rockstar-model pairing for the history books. After meeting at a New Years Eve party in 1994, the duo wed only four days after their second meeting — and first date — during an impromptu beach ceremony in Cancún. Naturally, the Baywatch star wore a white bikini while exchanging her vows. Here, a few months after their whirlwind marriage, the loved-up couple attends an afterparty for the 1995 Grammy Awards. While Tommy looks very much the rockstar in a white singlet, black suit and chains all over, Pam’s looking ever the bombshell model in a lamé gown.
With Tommy Lee in Europe, 1995
When in London! During a couples trip to the British capital, Pam opted for a Mod spin on her signature 90s look. Papped arriving at Heathrow airport and photographed, here, in front of Buckingham Palace, the actress wore a white mini dress and go-go boots with a matching chubby jacket. The topper, itself, is definitely faux-fur: Pamela’s been advocating for animal rights since her teens and has been an active member of PETA since the 90s.
With Tommy Lee at the American Music Awards, 1996
Baby bump meets babydoll. Pamela wore a silver Lurex version of the 90s’ favourite minidress to the 1996 American Music Awards, which she attended with then-husband — and father-to-be — Tommy Lee. At the time, Pam was pregnant with her first son Brandon.
At the MTV VMAs, 1999
From myriad naked dresses to many a snake-cessory, the MTV VMAs has been the venue for celebrities to show off their wildest looks since its 1984 inception. While the iconic awards show has seen some incredibly outré outfits over the decade, Pam and Tommy’s 1999 ensembles definitely have a special place in the VMAs red carpet hall-of-fame. Known to have fun with their red carpet style (see their twinning 1997 AMAs fits), the couple walked the carpet in a pair of delightfully whacky, mismatched ensembles: Tommy, in a Burberry trench (and not much else), and Pam, in a corset, sequinned trousers and that furry pink hat.
At the American Music Awards, 2002
Every bombshell beauty needs her naked dress moment! Pam’s most memorable version of the barely-there gown arrived at the 2002 AMAs -- and in two parts. To the awards show, which she attended with then-boyfriend Kid Rock, she wore a glittering diamanté two piece with slits up to there. A knock-out number worthy only of a knock-out beauty for the ages.