There are some style moments that will forever have Us swooning — one of them being Elizabeth Hurley’s iconic Versace safety pin dress.
The now 58-year-old actress made fashion history when she donned the daring garment at the 1994 premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral with then-boyfriend Hugh Grant. The eye-catching number featured a plunging neckline with openings at the sides held together by large gold safety pins.
“It didn’t hurt at all,” Hurley exclusively told Us Weekly of the pointed clasps that were pressed against her bare skin while also discussing Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. (Hurley has been involved with the campaign for years, and the issue hits close to home as she lost her grandmother to breast cancer nearly three decades ago.)
“What was really interesting about that dress is when I borrowed it, I’d never borrowed an item of clothing before and nobody had heard of Versace in England. They didn’t even have a publicity office in London at the time,” Hurley said of her native U.K.
Hurley told Us that the frock — which later became known as “That Dress” — was also special because it was her “first” couture experience. “When I put it on, I was like, ‘Wow.’ But in fact, I was like, ‘Is this going to move?’”
She continued, “It was my first experience of wearing couture, and it didn’t move. Before I left the house, I remember bending down and touching my toes and doing all this [and] nothing moved. I knew it was going to be comfortable.”
Donatella Versace previously opened up about how Hurley ended up in the gown in InStyle’s 25th anniversary issue in August 2019. “People across the globe started talking about the dress. That’s when we started to realize the power of the red carpet and celebrities in creating topics of conversation,” Donatella, 68, told the publication.
The designer went on to share that Hurley needed a last minute piece to accompany Grant, now 63, at the Four Weddings and a Funeral screening, so Donatella lent it to Hurley as a favor.
“I know you’d expect something more interesting behind one of the most famous red-carpet dresses in history,” Donatella told InStyle. “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.”
The dress has since influenced many other red carpet moments. Most recently, Taylor Swift appeared to take inspiration from Hurley at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12. She graced the pink carpet in an asymmetrical black gown from the Italian fashion house that was adorned with gold hardware strategically placed across her bodice.
The safety pin dress isn’t the only fashion statement Hurley is known for. She’s also a big fan of the color pink – which has become synonymous with breast cancer.
“A great deal of my wardrobe is pink, and I’ve always loved pink,” Hurley told Us. “When Evelyn Lauder decided pink was going to be the color of breast cancer, it was a really good one,” Hurley said of the philanthropist, who has been credited as one of the creators of the breast cancer pink ribbon.
Hurley has been working with Evelyn — the daughter-in-law of Estée Lauder – for 28 years after first joining the company as a model.
“When I first started joining the company as a model, [Evelyn] came up to me and she asked if I would help with a campaign. I said, ‘Of course. What is it?’ She said, ‘Well, women all over the world are dying of breast cancer and no one is talking about it,’” Hurley told Us.
She continued, “It was more of an awareness campaign back then, but simultaneously, [Evelyn] formed a breast cancer research foundation, which in fact has gone on to fund the most phenomenal research and a great deal of what everybody in the world knows about breast cancer.”
Hurley added, “So, I just started helping, and I’m still here.”