Great Outfits in Fashion History: Uma Thurman's Chanel Ball Gown at the 1999 Oscars

Uma Thurman at the 1999 Academy Awards

Photo: Newsmakers

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In ‘Great Outfits in Fashion History,’ Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

Uma Thurman is no stranger to playing badass characters, such as the drop-dead gorgeous Poison Ivy or a revenge-seeking assassin in “Kill Bill”. But the actor embraced a softer side with her look for the 1999 Academy Awards, looking like she stepped right out of the pages of a fairytale in this two-piece Chanel ballgown.

Thurman’s ensemble diverged from the classic ’90s slip dresses, which were favored by many for the red carpets. It actually garnered criticism from Entertainment Weekly, which compared it to “an escapee from a harem.” (Honestly, that’s my dream aesthetic.) But this look was just ahead of its time, straight from Chanel’s Spring 1999 Haute Couture runway in Paris, where it was first modeled by Esther Cañadas.

Chanel Spring 1999 Haute Couture

Photo: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images

The “Pulp Fiction” actor accessorized with silver drop earrings, a thin silver chain belt and matching crystal armbands. The latter aren’t often seen on the red carpet, but make an excellent fashion statement nonetheless. Thurman leaned into the gown’s dreamy aesthetic with her pulled-back, flowing curls and her soft, glistening eyeshadow, paired with a mauve lip. 

Scroll to see (and shop!) our picks to channel the magic of this ball gown in your own wardrobe.

Christopher John Rogers Strapless Ruched Handkerchief Midi Dress, $2,895, available here (sizes 0-8)

Amy Lynn Alexa Silver Metallic Puffball Dress, $168, available here (sizes XS-L)

Selkie The Ivory Sugarfrill Puff Dress, $295, available here (sizes XXS-6X)

Nana Jacqueline Juliet Velvet Halter Dress, $615, available here (sizes XS-XL)

Ramy Brook Athena Metallic Stripe Halter Gown, $645 $322.50, available here (sizes 00-16)

Sau Lee Adrienne Tiered Gown, $630, available here (sizes 0-14)

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