7 of Nicole Kidman's most iconic outfits
From 90s minimalism to sexy backless red carpet dresses, Nicole’s style is as multifaceted as the actress, herself.
Photo by Barry King/WireImage, by Ron Wolfson/Getty Images and by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images
Actresses with chops like Nicole Kidman’s only come around once in a generation. One of the most talented, most awarded and most influential actors of the last four decades and counting, the Aussie-born thespian came up in the Australian cinema industry before earning her Hollywood breakthrough with 1992’s Far and Away. Since, Nicole’s gone on to star in some of the most acclaimed, most iconic, and most beloved big and small screen fare of the 90s, 00s and 2010s. Known for her versatility, Nicole’s played just about every Hollywood and indie archetype you can imagine — and then some! — and played them with a grace that is distinctly her own. Think Nicole as the unhinged matriarch in Stoker, the tragic ingénue in Moulin Rouge!, the femme fatale in To Die For, the dissatisfied wife in Eyes Wide Shut. From ethereal vintage-inspired gowns to sexy backless numbers, Nicole’s style — both on and off the red carpet — are as myriad and multifaceted as her filmography. Here, we revisit seven of her most iconic outfits.
At the Interview with a Vampire premiere, 1994
After their marriage in 1990, Nicole Kidman and then-husband Tom Cruise became one of Hollywood’s most photographed — and most in-demand — couples. During their 11 year-long marriage, and before their 2001 divorce, the duo starred in three films together, including Stanley Kubrick’s iconic Eyes Wide Shut. Here, Nicole attends the premiere of her then-husband’s horror flick Interview with a Vampire wearing a rather vamp-y ensemble, herself. Perhaps an homage to the film’s gothic fare and, undoubtedly, a primo example of 90s minimalism, the Aussie actress wore the decade’s ubiquitous three-button suit with a wide collar shirt, smudgy kohl eyeliner and a crimson lip.
At the To Die For premiere, 1996
In Gus Van Sant’s To Die For, one of the actress’ mid-90s Hollywood breakthroughs, Nicole plays femme fatale news anchor Suzanne Stone-Maretto. Naturally, to the film’s premiere, Nicole wore a slinky dress from none other than the sultriest label of the 90s, Tom Ford’s Gucci. Nicole’s look was pulled from the brand’s SS96 collection and, it appears, her then-beau dressed up in a semi-twinning fit from Gucci’s FW95 mens offering. Nicole has a rather storied sartorial history with the Italian house, wearing Gucci by Tom Ford ensembles to 2003’s Cannes Film Festival, SAG awards and — of course — that year’s Met Gala red carpet.
At the Batman Forever premiere, 1995
Sure, Tom Cruise is most recognized as being an action franchise star, but did you know that Nicole did it first (and did it better?). In 1995, the Aussie actress earned her superhero franchise stripes in the Tim Burton-produced Batman Forever. In the movie, Nicole plays opposite Michael Keaton, as the masked crusader’s love interest, psychologist Dr. Chase Meridian. To the film’s premiere, the actress wore a gown that glittered as bright as her rising Hollywood star.
At the Academy Awards, 1996
Did you know that Nicole Kidman is the wearer of one of the Oscars red carpet’s most famous — and divisive — dresses of all time? While the gown above isn’t the one in question, it does mark the beginning of Nicole’s trailblazing legacy of high fashion red carpet moments. To the 1996 Oscars — only one year before she’d wear the history-making Galliano number — she wore a featherlight Prada slip and matching satin accessories from the label’s FW96 outing. This Prada ensemble also served as a glimpse into the diaphanous, lingerie-esque gowns that would become Nicole’s red carpet calling card. See also: an ethereal embroidered number worn to the 1996 Portrait of a Lady premiere, a gossamer puff sleeve look to the 1997 Academy Awards, a 20s-inspired slip dress to the Moulin Rouge premiere and tiered Chanel Couture to the 2002 Oscars, to name only a few!
At the Academy Awards, 1997
A year after wearing the Prada dress, in 1997, Nicole returned to the Academy Awards red carpet in a gown that would revolutionize Oscars fashion — forever. The dress in question? An electrifying, fur-trimmed chartreuse down, designed by Dior’s newly-minted creative director, English enfant terrible John Galliano. Compared to the award show’s rather conservative red carpet fare, the shockingly esoteric — but undeniably show-stopping — look was a major risk. But it was one that paid off. At the time, Oscars red carpet correspondent, Melissa Rivers, referred to the dress as one of the Oscars’ “first true couture dresses.” Over the decades, the dress has been lauded as one of the most iconic and influential ensembles to ever stroll the Academy Awards red carpet.
At the Eyes Wide Shut premiere, 1999
At the turn-of-the-millennium, Nicole embraced Y2K’s strappy styling with a series of midriff-bearing, backless red carpet looks. The most memorable? This burgundy set worn to the premiere of Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. In very aughties fashion, the actress accessorized the look with an upper arm cuff. The backless look, similar to the one seen here, would go on to become a staple of Nicole’s red carpet style. During peak Y2K, the actress wore back-bearing numbers to the 2000s Oscars, the premiere of The Others, The Blue Room premiere, and, into the mid-aughts, stunning backless numbers by Balenciaga and Chanel during her perennial Oscars red carpet appearances.
At the Mission Impossible 2 premiere, 2000
If Nicole’s strappy Eyes Wide Shut set takes the first place prize in Nicole Kidman’s archive of backless look, this one is the indisputed runner-up. To the 2000 premiere of Mission Impossible 2, the actress wore a stunning embroidered halter top paired, naturally, with the era’s quintessential low-rise and a chain-mail clutch. A golden look for one of modern Hollywood’s golden actresses.