90s & early 00s fashion: iconic Valentino gowns worn by Naomi Campbell and Gisele Bündchen on the runway and Halle Berry and Julia Roberts on the Oscars red carpet

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All images courtesy of Getty.

There is a reason why Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani is called the ‘fashion emperor’. When the Italian designer set up his studio in the 1960s, he quickly rose to prominence for designing women’s clothing with innate elegance, grace and romance. Her sultry red dress became world-famous, especially when worn by supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bündchen and Christy Turlington in the ’90s. She’s also long established herself as a favorite of the world’s biggest actors and musicians, dressing Elizabeth Taylor and Jennifer Lopez in stunning all-white wedding looks for their big day.

Even though he retired in 2007 – the Valentino house is still going strong under the creative tutelage of Pierpaolo Piccioli – the designer left a strong legacy in the industry. I mean, he really found color! As he celebrates his 90th birthday, we take a look back at some of Valentino’s most iconic fashion moments in our favorite fashion era: the ’90s and early 00s.

Linda Evangelista walked for the Valentino SS92 event in a black and white stripe dress.

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Linda Evangelista in Valentino’s Spring Summer 1992 show, 1991

If this stunning outfit on ’90s supermodel Linda Evangelista looks familiar, it’s because it was recently worn by Zendaya on the red carpet for its premiere. euphoria second season. But the black and white dress that stood out first appeared three decades earlier – and four years before our favorite actress and CFDA-approved fashion icon was even born – when redheaded Linda walked the Valentino SS92 event in Paris. The epitome of elegance to this day, this is a vintage dress fit for today’s biggest star and future Oscar winner (maybe – we made it happen!).

Christy Turlington walks for the Valentino SS93 event in a wedding dress

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Christy Turlington in Valentino’s Spring Summer 1993 show, 1993

Valentino Garavani has been behind the bridal looks of the biggest stars of recent decades, from Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis to Courtney Cox, J-Lo and Anne Hathaway. Some of her most famous wedding designs date back to the ’90s, including this tulle vision complete with an intricate lacy bodice and floral details pinned to the peplum.

Naomi Campbell walks for the Valentino AW95-96 event in a sheer black beaded dress

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Naomi Campbell in the Valentino show Autumn Winter 1995-1996, 1995

When Naomi Campbell walked in for the prt porter Valentino AW 1995-1996 collection, her fitted black dress was a bit risqué with sheer sequined panels on each side, revealing the supermodel’s naked body underneath. It was her turn at the end of the runway, which gagged everything, with the back of the dress made of the third see-through column exposing Naomi’s bottom. Quite iconic if you ask us.

Halle Berry in a lilac Valentino gown at the 1996 Academy Awards

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Halle Berry at the Academy Awards, 1996

At the 1996 Oscars, cat woman Bond legend and girl Halle Berry arrived wearing a svelty slip dress from Valentino in a soft lilac silk cut with lilac satin on the bodice and lilac chiffon around the neck. The straps are decorated with delicate floral embellishments that add to the cute uber-90s girly look.

Stella Tennant walks for Valentino SS98 event in sequin tiger dress

Stella Tennant at Valentino’s Spring Summer 1998 event, 1997

Valentino has always loved animal print. In fact, Valentino’s archives reportedly have a strapped cashmere dress embellished with leopard polka dots that the designer made in the ’50s, even before the fashion house was founded. For decades, the studio has been inspired by all manner of animal patterns – from zebra-striped crop tops to giraffe-patterned caftans. She really did it in her SS98 collection, designing a gold lace gown with snake trimmings wrapped around the body; leopard print underwear display; and this stunning sequin tiger was embroidered into the sheer gown that graced model Stella Tennant.

Gisele Bünchen walks for the Valentino Haute Couture AW99-00 show in a red dress

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Gisele Bünchen in the Valentino AW Haute Couture event 1999 to 2000, 1999

When presenting his first collection in the 50s, Valentino designed a bright red color known for its innate sexuality and romance. Known as Valentino Rosso, it contains no pigment other than that one color, which ultimately imparts an intensity so vivid that it can emit its own light. This invention is so well-loved, Valentino will continue to have at least one look in each collection with a unique and standout tone. One of the most famous examples? The stunning look that made Gisele Bündchen shine on the runway. Before she became the highest-paid supermodel of the mid-00s – she was turned down 42 times during casting before shocking everyone with her drenched sexy outfit on the 1998 Alexander McQueen show – Gisele shocked the world when she walked for Valentino in 1999, looking like a rose blooming in a flowing lace dress.

Julia Roberts in a black Valentino dress with white stripes at the 2001 Academy Awards

Photo by Mirek Towski/FilmMagic

Julia Roberts at the Academy Awards, 2001

Valentino himself once said that when actress Julia Roberts wore one of her dresses from the 1992 collection to win the best actress award for her. Erin Brokovich at the 73rd Academy Awards, it was the pinnacle of his career. Julia is reported to have been sent many looks from top designers of the time but was not impressed. Luckily, this slim black number with a tulle train appeared. Years later, it’s still talked about, eventually being voted the third most iconic red carpet look of all time (the first being Liz Hurley’s Versace pin dress). The dress is so legendary it even has its own Wikipedia page!

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