I have this rule of thumb that you know a dress is iconic if it has its own Wikipedia page, and Michelle Williams’s 2006 saffron yellow 2006 Vera Wang number fits the bill.  Beyond living in infamy on the internet’s one-stop research shop, this look is correctly included in basically every slideshow about the best Oscar looks on every website in town — including this one. When I went to do a little research on it, I found one piece that argued it had been on some worst dressed lists. I do not recall this at all, and actually cannot find any evidence of it — even Kidzworld loved it –  but can obviously only definitively speak to my own reaction:  I so clearly remember Michelle stepping onto this red carpet with Heath Ledger — they were both nominated for Brokeback Mountain, the film on which they met — and thinking that she looked amazing. We’ve since seen this basic idea quite a bit on the red carpet — including the yellow dress/red lip combo — and I think it feels less thrilling in action now in 2021 than it did fifteen years ago, when it was just remarkably fresh. (Several of the contemporaneous pieces about this particular look noted that it was one of the few gowns that year that was actually a bright color, which I think also helped it make such a splash.) Folks who love award show red carpets are, I’ve often thought, chasing a feeling — of loving something completely, or the serotonin hit of being able to hate something that is, ultimately, frivolous — and this dress made so many of us feel something. Glorious.

[Photos: Peter Brooker/Shutterstock, Chris Carlson/AP/Shutterstock, Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock, Broadimage/Shutterstock, Mike Nelson/EPA/Shutterstock, Joel Ryan/AP/Shutterstock, Invision/AP/Shutterstock]