One of the most iconic fashion moments in Pretty Woman has to be the red opera dress, the crowning glory in Vivian’s makeover. However you might be surprised to hear that it could’ve looked very different, as the movie studio originally wanted it to be black.
I’m guessing they just wanted a more classic look, however costume designer Marilyn Vance knew a red dress would have more of an impact (and let’s face it, she was right).
So after lots of back and forth with the studio, and creating three different creations for several test shots, Marilyn finally managed to change their minds.
The result was of course the beautiful off-the-shoulder design that perfectly enhances Vivian’s red hair. Whether the ruby necklace she wore was decided on after the dress or not, I’m not sure, but it certainly looks great with it.
Said necklace was also worth way more than what producers could afford. They had a relatively small budget of $14m to make the film, and the necklace was worth $250,00o, so a jeweller kindly lent it to Julia Roberts… however as they hadn’t bought it, it came with an armed guard. So what we couldn’t see in the background of each scene was probably a guard hovering behind the actress every time she wore the necklace.
And whilst we’re on the subject of things that almost didn’t happen, the moment Edward snaps the box shut on Vivian’s hand wasn’t part of the script at all, but after several slightly boring takes, he shut the box on Roberts’ fingers, getting her to genuinely laugh.