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Gwyneth Paltrow’s side-view gown: A brief history of VIP dresses designed to draw stares

Will we always remember where we were the first time we saw Gwyneth Paltrow’s derriere?

Certain dresses have that effect on the public consciousness — and let’s face it, they’re designed to.

There was the time Elizabeth Hurley — or, as she was known until that well-staged moment, “the girlfriend of that guy from ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral'” — showed up with Hugh Grant to the movie’s premiere in 1994 in a black Versace dress seemingly held together by gold safety pins. Today, that dress has its own Wikipedia page. It seems kind of tame in comparison to the next two decades of red carpet fashion, but at the time — wow, safety pins! They even distracted from the cleavage, which, frankly, could have stopped traffic on its own.

Then there was the time Jennifer Lopez showed up at the February 2000 Grammys in the green silk chiffon gown, also by Versace, with a neckline plunging to roughly four inches below her navel. (Yes, it also has its own Wiki.) Two months after boyfriend Sean Combs’s arrest in connection with a nightclub gunfight, the dress certainly refocused media attention — though she later insisted she “had no idea it was going to become such a big deal.” And again, it was the fastening mechanisms — invisible, this time, unlike Hurley’s gaudy pins — that mesmerized the world more than the bare flesh. How does she keep that thing closed? In hindsight, it’s possible this was a marketing stunt by the double-sided tape industry.

Of course, there was the time that Cher showed up at the 1988 Oscars baring most of her torso — but then again, she did that kind of thing a lot, didn’t she? Surprisingly, the Cher dresses don’t have their own Wikipedia pages. . . .

. . . .though this Oscar gown does — remember that one? More famous than the lady who wore it, Lizzy Gardiner, winner of the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in 1995. You know, just a little thing she pulled together with some leftover gold American Express cards she happened to have lying around. . .

So, the Gwyneth Paltrow dress, circa 2013, comes amid a month-long marketing blitz for Gwynethiana Omnimedia. She has a new healthy-eating cookbook, a new title as People magazine’s most beautiful woman (“It’s like obviously not true. But it’s very sweet to be named,” she told AP), and a new movie — it was to the L.A. premiere of “Iron Man 3” that she wore the gown in question, designed by Antonio Berardi. There have also been ample plugs for her pal Tracy Anderson, the celebrity trainer, whose business no doubt gets a boost with the evidence displayed by her star clients.

The trick of the dress is that it looks fairly conservative from head on. It’s only when she turns a corner that every other head turns.

Update, Friday: Oh, so now she is embarrassed? So she tells Ellen Degeneres, or is this just another bid for attention. Gwyneth, just own it! (New York Post)

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