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Great Outfits in Fashion History: Björk's Swan Dress

This look has its own Wikipedia entry!

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.

It's rare that a red carpet look becomes so iconic that a mere three words can conjure up the image of it in your mind — and even more so that one earns its own Wikipedia entry. Yet that is the case for this all-time great outfit: Björk's swan dress. 

The phrase alone sends a frisson of excitement up the spine, a memory of red carpets past where stylists were few and far between, which made the mistakes plentiful and the commentary savage. When Björk arrived at the 2001 Academy Awards wearing a tulle dress built to look like a literal swan — complete with laying an egg on the red carpet! eat your heart out Gaga! — critics and the general public alike were... not kind. 

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But 20 years late, the joke is on them, if you ask me: Red carpets have become, for the most part, so boring and predictable that I long for the days where a dress with a swan head draped over one breast layered over a sheer bodysuit sprinkled with sparkles was even possible. Björk didn't wear this look, designed by Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski, because she wanted publicity or needed to make a splash; she wore it because she genuinely liked it.

The end effect is the same, though. Have you ever forgotten about Björk's swan dress? It pops up over and over and over again in pop culture, with a high-fashion redux even appearing on the Spring 2014 Valentino Haute Couture runway. Maybe it didn't land her on any best-dressed lists or move oodles of perfume for some blue-chip fashion house, but it has become a piece of red-carpet history. 

I'd guess you're not shopping for a swan dress of your own any time soon, but Björk's sheer wash of lip color would work with any summer whites. Shop inspired picks below:

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