Here’s Who Wore That Green Versace Dress Before Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez ripped the runway this past week at the Versace Spring 2020 fashion show in Italy. As you’ve probably heard by now, she surprised attendees when she strutted down the catwalk wearing a remixed version of the iconic green dress she rocked at Grammys in 2000.
Her walk on the red carpet that year with then-boyfriend Sean “Puffy” Combs was a moment forever sealed in pop culture memory. It was J. Lo that made the jungle dress famous, and since 2000, she’s inspired similar looks for other famous women over the years.
Lopez recently opened up to Vogue about how she and her team chose this dress at the last minute and revealed that she wasn’t the one to debut it. Before she slipped into the famous chiffon gown, there were other women who wore it first. Who?
The fashion designer is the sister of the late Gianni Versace and current chief at the Versace company in Italy. She jumped into the business under the guidance of her brother in the ‘80s, and after leaving university, began working at the fashion house full time.
According to Harper’s Bazaar, it was Donatella who designed the special dress that turned Lopez into a Google sensation. But it was also the younger Versace sibling who wore it first, and it was at the 1999 Met Gala in December of that year. This one has no sleeves, but it’s the design.
A month or so after Versace wore it, Geri Halliwell (now Horner) attended the first annual NRJ Music Awards, donning the green jungle dress. Its plunging neckline was concealed by the Spice Girl’s long tresses, but she wore it on the red carpet at the Cannes, France event.
Sandra Bullock (honorable mention)
Bullock isn’t known for wearing edgy or provocative styles, but she hit the Vogue Fashion Awards in 1999 wearing this reddish-orange number. Although the skirt part of his dress is closed, notice the similarities between this gown and the green Versace dress.
The neckline, the print, and the jeweled details in the center of the bodice evoke the same vibe.
Lopez wore an updated design
Thanks to J. Lo, the gown has become an unforgettable piece of celebrity fashion history. But this year, she closed out the Versace show in a new, sleeveless update of the green dress that featured embellished accents and a shimmery undergarment.
According to Vogue, no one was the wiser when J. Lo’s music started playing for several models ahead of her surprise entrance. Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and images of the dress being Googled filled the screens in the room. A voice said, “Show me the real jungle dress,” and out she walked.
She worked the room to a standing ovation, and by the end of the show, Lopez and Donatella were arm-in-arm for the finale. 20 years later, the dress still commands attention and Lopez will probably always be the one who’s name is attached to it.