Donatella Versace Explains How Elizabeth Hurley Ended Up in That Iconic Safety Pin Dress

Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant at the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere in 1994. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Elizabeth Hurley propelled her and Versace into the limelight in one fell swoop when she wore the now infamous safety pin dress to the London premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral back in 1994.

Now Donatella Versace is talking about that moment for InStyle’s 25th anniversary issue.

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“People across the globe started talking about the dress,” Versace tells the publication. “That’s when we started to realize the power of the red carpet and celebrities in creating topics of conversation.”

As the story goes, the then-girlfriend of Hugh Grant needed a last second dress to wear to his latest movie premiere. As an up-and-coming model, she couldn’t afford to buy one herself so the designer lent it to her as a favor.

“I know you’d expect something more interesting behind one of the most famous red-carpet dresses in history,” Versace says. “But as for many things chance played a big role in making it all happen. No one could really fathom such an astonishing reaction or that Liz would steal the spotlight from everyone else.”

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The reaction was equal parts disgust and elation. While some loved the risk-taking look, others said it was distasteful, revealing too much. No matter though, because it was in this moment that the designer cemented the role to celebrate and show off the female figure instead of hiding it under layers of fabric and gowns.

This look became so epic that the now 54-year-old model’s son, Damian, paid homage to the look just a couple weeks ago with a safety pin blazer.

Other iconic looks the publication touches on are Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink Ralph Lauren gown at 1999 Oscars, Angelina Jolie’s 2004 Academy Awards Marc Bouwer number and Rihanna’s pink tulle Giambattista Valli number from 2015 Grammy Awards.

And as it turns out Valli was just as impressed with the look as the rest of us were.

“I was mesmerized not only by how well she wore the dress but also by her fresh and effortless beauty,” Valli told the magazine. “She looked like she had just taken a shower and zipped up her dress to walk the red carpet.”

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