The most expensive red carpet dress ever worn is worth almost £8m

From Cate Blanchett’s Oscars diamond-fest to Kate Middleton’s bespoke wedding gown, here are some of the most eye-wateringly pricey (but seriously glamorous) dresses of all time…

most expensive red carpet dresses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When you know how much work goes into celebrity red carpet dresses - Nicole Kidman's Cannes Dior dress took 1,000 hours to make, and Adele's Zuhair Murad Wembley dress took 500 hours, it makes sense that they have a price tag to match. But even we couldn't handle it when we found out the most expensive dress in the world cost over £4m, according do new picture research by Getty.

Makes you feel a little less guilty about that Zara splurge, right? Bur before we tell you which iconic dress topped the list, here's a little look at the nine other pricey gowns, including the Dior dress a famous actress was paid $2m to wear (and while you're here, these are the most expensive Oscars dresses of all time).

17. Anne Hathaway's 2011 Oscars dress: $80,000

Anne Hathaway at the Oscars - Best red carpet dresses of 2011

Anne Hathaway at the Oscars - Best red carpet dresses of 2011
(Image credit: Rex Features)

2011 was the year Anne Hathaway and James Franco did a cringe-tastic job of hosting the Academy Awards. But let's not allow that to overshadow the striking letterbox-red Valentino gown she chose for her red carpet entrance. Or, the Tiffany & Co. 'Lucinda' necklace she accessorised it with that cost a staggering ten million dollars.

16. Kate Winslet's Valentino 2007 Oscars dress: $100,000

The mint-green Valentino creation Kate wore to the 2007 Academy Awards was reportedly worth around a hundred thousand dollars and was picked out by her daughter, Mia. Girl’s got taste.

15. Charlize Theron's 2013 Christian Dior Oscars dress: $100,000

charlize theron, most expensive dresses

Charlize Theron wore this Dior couture gown for the 2013 Oscars. While the dress already hit a hundred grand, the actress paired it with Harry Winston diamond cuffs, bringing the value of this elegant look to a whopping $4 million.

14. Lupita Nyong'o's 2015 Calvin Klein Oscars dress: $150,000

lupita nyong'o, most expensive dresses

Lupita Nyong’o attended the 87th Annual Academy Awards in 2015 wearing a custom Calvin Klein dress made with over 6,000 pearls.

13. Cate Blanchett's 2007 Armani Privé Oscars dress: $200,000

cate blanchett, most expensive dresses

Cate Blanchett rocked the red carpet in this Armani Privé dress for the 2007 Oscars. The form fitting, gunmetal gown is fully embellished with Swarovski crystals.

12. Princess Diana in Victor Edelstein: £240,000

princess diana, most expensive dresses

Princess Diana danced with actor John Travolta at President Raegan's White House Dinner in 1985, wearing a custom-made velvet gown by Victor Edelstein. The iconic dress was originally auctioned off for charity in 1997, selling for £100,000, then sold again in 2013 for £240,000.

11. Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen: £250,000

Kate Middleton's wedding dress - Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen

Kate Middleton's wedding dress - Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Kate Middleton's wedding dress was custom-made by Alexander McQueen’s head designer Sarah Burton. Featuring delicate lace embroidery, this dress has inspired many modern replicas, especially for other fairytale weddings.

10. Amal Clooney in Oscar de la Renta: $380,000

celebrity wedding cake

Amal Clooney wore a custom-made gown by Oscar de la Renta on her wedding day. The exquisite dress featured intricate French lace detailing and hand-embroidered pearls.

9. Meghan Markle in Givenchy: £387,000

meghan markle wedding dress cost

Photo: Rex

While the cost of Meghan Markle's wedding dress hasn't been confirmed, it was estimated at over £100k more than Kate's thanks to its bespoke design, expensive fabric and fittings, as well as a custom-made veil and wedding shoes.

8. Imperial Pearl Syndicate wedding dress: $500,000

pearl wedding dress, most expensive dresses

Mary Joe Connolly, a photographer for King Features, modelled a pearl wedding gown worth half a million dollars today. The dress was made of 100,000 cultured pearls and was worth $100,000 in the 1950s, donning the heftiest price tag for its time.

7. Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy: $900,000

(Image credit: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock)

The little black dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of the most iconic dresses of all time. The Givenchy frock was auctioned and sold for just shy of a million dollars at Christie’s in New York.

6. Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music: $1.56million

Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1650475a)
The pinafore Julie Andrews wore when she played Maria Von Trapp in 1965 was later sold for $1.56million at auction. And it didn’t even have any diamonds on it…

(Image credit: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock)

5. Rihanna's 2015 Met Gala dress: over £1 MILLION

most expensive red carpet dresses

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The dress that spawned a thousand memes. Rihanna wore this custom designed by Chinese couturier Guo Pei, for the 2015 Met Gala to tie in with the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass. It weighed an impressive 25kg and featured an intricately embroidered gold pattern. Rihanna reached out to the designer herself to create it, and as she doesn't take any commissions on for less than £1m, we can imagine this was worth at least that.

4. Nicole Kidman's 1997 Christian Dior Oscars dress: $2 million

nicole kidman, most expensive dresses

Nicole Kidman was paid $2 million to don this chartreuse Haute Couture gown designed by John Galliano for Christian Dior at the 1997 Academy Awards.

3. Jennifer Lawrence's 2013 Oscars dress: $4 million

most expensive red carpet dresses

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Designed by Raf Simons for Christian Dior Haute Couture, this dress was rumoured to cost $4m, and Jennifer Lawrence later said not many fittings went into it, she just tried it on that morning and it fit.

At the time, she'd signed a three-year deal with the label, worth $15m, and as part of it would only wear Dior to red carpet events.

2. William Travilla's Marilyn Monroe dress: $5.6 MILLION

marilyn monroe, most expensive dresses

Marilyn Monroe's ivory pleated subway dress from the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch sold for $5.6 million in a Beverly Hills auction in 2011.

Let's just finish on this note: can you imagine being paid to wear a designer gown? Oh to be a celebrity.

1. Kim Kardashian's Marilyn Monroe Met Gala dress: $10 million

most expensive red carpet dresses

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kim Kardashian made headlines in 2022 when she attended the Met Gala in THE dress Marilyn Monroe wore to sing Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy. It was bought by Ripley's in 2016 for a staggering $4.8m, the record for the most expensive dress sold at auction. Kim Kardashian begged them to let her borrow it for the Met Gala and they finally agreed, as long as she only wore it for the red carpet (she wore a replica for the actual ceremony), and it was only handled with gloves. Experts have now said that Kim wearing it has boosted its value, and that it would now be worth $10m.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.