Movie premieres and red carpet events have long been family affairs for Dakota Johnson, who often accompanied her parents, actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, to Hollywood fêtes throughout her childhood and teen years. It was only around 2010, when she began to pursue an acting career of her own, however, that Johnson began to establish a list of go-to fashion designers. Johnson became a household name just a few years later, thanks to her starring role in Fifty Shades of Grey, by which time she was already working with stylist Kate Young, sitting front row at fashion shows and finding herself on plenty of best-dressed lists.
While her off-duty style includes a lot of denim and loafers, on the red carpet, the actress is all about glitz and glamour—Johnson has even referred to her red carpet approach as having “disco ball” levels of sparkle. That penchant for bold detailing, paired with her eclectic sense of style, made Johnson the perfect match for Gucci, and then-creative director Alessandro Michele. In 2017, the Italian fashion house named Johnson one of the faces of its Gucci Bloom fragrance, alongside artist Petra Collins and model Hari Nef. And at the start of 2023, Johnson starred in a second campaign for Gucci—this time, for the latest iteration of the brand’s signature saddlebag, now renamed ‘Jackie 1961,’ after former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
You’ll find plenty of glittering, embellished Gucci designs while going through Johnson’s red carpet history. But she’s also been known to rock a tailored suit (made even more effortlessly chic with her trademark bangs and undone waves) and even dabble in Old Hollywood-inspired gowns. Ahead, take a look back at some of the star’s most memorable fashion moments.
2006, Golden Globe Awards
Given that her parents are both actors (and her grandmother is Old Hollywood icon Tippi Hedren), it’s no surprise that one of Johnson’s earliest red carpet moments was at the 2006 Golden Globes. Serving as that year’s Miss Golden Globe (and assisting with handing out trophies to the winners), Johnson demonstrated early on that she wasn’t afraid of a statement-making color with this burgundy halter dress.
2012, 21 Jump Street Premiere
Though it was otherwise a pretty classic LBD, the back of Johnson’s dress at the premiere for 21 Jump Street included a red zipper detail that perfectly matched her lipstick.
2013, BAFTA LA Party
Hats have become a staple accessory in Johnson’s off-duty wardrobe, and for a BAFTA party in Los Angeles, she opted to make a wide-brim topper a part of her red carpet look, which also included fitted pants and a black-and-white tuxedo jacket. This also marked the first time that Johnson dyed her naturally blonde hair a rich brunette shade—a look that would eventually stick…for the most part.
2013, LACMA Art + Film Gala
A few months after it was announced that Johnson would play Anastasia Steele in the film adaptation of E.L. James’ novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, the actress wore this detailed black and gold gown from the Gucci Fall 2013 collection. The design included lots of mesh and gold feathers—perhaps a reference to her grandmother’s most famous Alfred Hitchcock film, The Birds?
2014, Met Gala
Johnson attended her first Met Gala as a guest of Jason Wu, and was dressed in a navy camisole gown by the designer, which she paired with black opera gloves and a casual, undone waves hairstyle.
2014, LACMA Art + Film Gala
Another LACMA gala, another Gucci dress for Johnson, who wore this cream column gown in 2014. Forgoing accessories entirely, Johnson’s boldest addition was her braided pompadour hairstyle.
2015, Golden Globe Awards
The 2015 Golden Globe Awards marked the first major red carpet event for which Johnson teamed up with stylist Kate Young. A sign of more sparkly dresses to come, the Fifty Shades actress wore this paillette and crystal embellished strapless gown from Chanel’s fall 2014 couture collection, which Young previously shared took 800 hours to make. Among all of that sparkle was a surprising material: concrete cubes embroidered along the bust.
2015, Fifty Shades Of Grey Premiere at Berlin International Film Festival
Johnson stuck with a black-and-white theme throughout the promo for the first Fifty Shades film. This black Dior dress and red lip combo at the Berlin International Film Festival was a classic look, and featured a plunging neckline, button detailing and the daintiest Jennifer Fisher diamond choker.
2015, Academy Awards
The understated approach to Johnson’s hair and makeup at the Academy Awards really let the details of her Saint Laurent gown shine. The design from then-creative director Hedi Slimane featured a thigh-high slit and asymmetrical shoulder embellishment.
2015, Dior Show
Johnson loves a menswear moment, like when she wore the chicest black Dior pantsuit to attend the fashion house’s show for the fall 2015 collection in Paris. In keeping with the French girl vibes, Johnson kept makeup minimal and wore her hair in a classic French twist, accessorizing with black heels, a Lady Dior bag and a pair of tortoiseshell sunnies.
2015, LACMA Art + Film Gala
In a sea of strapless column gowns and embellished designs, Johnson stood out at the LACMA Art + Film Gala with this marigold three-quarter-sleeve dress from Gucci. A black bow adorned the dress’ high neckline, which Johnson showed off by sweeping her hair back—she even matched the bow’s burgundy flower to her lipstick.
2016, How To Be Single UK Premiere
For the U.K. premiere of her rom-com, How to Be Single, Johnson opted for a metallic gold Marc Jacobs gown, which featured ruffle detailing along the shoulders and an open back.
2017, Fifty Shades Darker Los Angeles Premiere
With its plunging neckline and floaty silhouette, this elegant blush gown from Valentino’s spring 2017 collection brought just the right amount of drama for the Los Angeles premiere of Fifty Shades Darker, the second installment of the franchise. Johnson’s beauty look played up the elegance with a soft smokey eye, rose lip and an undone braid with face-framing pieces.
2017, Fifty Shades Darker U.K. Premiere
Johnson kept the romantic style going for the sequel’s U.K. premiere, with a design from Alexander McQueen’s spring 2017 collection. The lined gown featured a sea creature-inspired motif with puff sleeves and a square neckline, and Johnson paired the look with a Cartier diamond necklace and slightly disheveled ballerina bun.
2017, LACMA Art + Film Gala
A few months after the debut of her Gucci Bloom fragrance campaign, Johnson attended the 2017 LACMA Art + Film Gala in a long-sleeve pink confection from the fashion house’s spring 2018 collection. Given that sparkling sequins and crystals are a red carpet favorite for Johnson, it’s no surprise that she’s worn several iterations of this embellished pink gown over the years.
2017, Hollywood Film Awards
Johnson wore head-to-toe Calvin Klein to the 2017 Hollywood Film Awards, opting for a tailored red suit. Adding a feminine edge to the otherwise traditionally masculine look, the actress skipped the usual button-down shirt and threw in a glittering choker necklace and two-tone heels.
2018, Golden Globes
In support of Time’s Up and their work to end sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, Johnson wore black to present at the 2018 Golden Globes. Her velvet and organza Gucci ensemble was part of creative director Alessandro Michele’s pre-fall 2018 collection, and included a show-stopping train, embroidered with crystals.
2018, Fifty Shades Freed Paris Premiere
For the premiere of the third and final Fifty Shades film, Johnson chose a fitted Prada dress that appeared quite minimal from a distance. A close-up look, however, showed that it was actually covered in white sequins, for some eye-catching sparkle.
2018, Suspiria Premiere at Venice International Film Festival
Johnson went Old Hollywood glam for the 2018 Venice International Film Festival, which saw the premiere of her movie Suspiria. This gorgeous red gown was from Dior’s fall 2018 couture collection, and featured a sculpted bodice with a train, for a more dramatic effect. To complete the look, Johnson wore matching red satin pumps by Jimmy Choo, diamond earrings by Messika and a classic beauty aesthetic with a brown smokey eye and an undone bun.
2019, Met Gala
For the 2019 Met Gala, Johnson wore a sparkling fuchsia Gucci gown with tulle cape sleeves. Even with all of that shimmer, the focal point of the custom dress was the embroidered bleeding heart, which Johnson requested feature beaded droplets of blood down through the train for even more drama. A silver headpiece and matching pink makeup (also Gucci, of course) completed the look, and made for one of the Gucci muse’s most memorable Met Gala moments.
2019, The Peanut Butter Falcon Premiere
It’s rare for Johnson to wear a mini dress on the red carpet, but when she does, she really knocks it out of the park. Case in point: this Saint Laurent frock, where the bodice was actually an oversized bow. Because of the ornate embroidery throughout the entire dress, Johnson kept the accessories minimal, with black heeled sandals and thin gold hoop earrings.
2019, Our Friend Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival called for couture, with Johnson in a black ball gown from the Dior fall 2019 couture collection. The strapless bodice, paired with the actress’ polished French twist hairstyle, helped to better display her Birks diamond choker necklace, but it was the gown’s full tulle skirt that really stole the show.
2019, Governors Awards
Just one month later, Johnson put a modern spin on the ball gown with a white crop top and matching full skirt from the Brandon Maxwell spring 2020 collection. In keeping with the look, Johnson skipped the updo and went for tousled waves and a matching berry lip and eye combo.
2021, The Lost Daughter Premiere at Venice International Film Festival
Johnson attended the Venice International Film Festival premiere of her movie The Lost Daughter arm in arm with Alessandro Michele, wearing the Gucci creative director’s take on the naked dress. The custom design, which featured tulle underlay and a mix of crystal fringe and rose-colored tear drop stones, weighed more than 20 pounds.
2021, The Lost Daughter New York Premiere
For the New York City premiere of the same movie, Johnson went for an entirely different look—still Gucci, of course—in a black lace corset and high-waisted leather pants.
2021, Gotham Awards
Johnson wore the ultimate little black dress to the Gotham Awards, in the form of a figure-fitting Schiaparelli gown that featured a gold chain halter with a molding of lips right at the center of the neckline.
2022, Cha Cha Real Smooth Premiere at South By Southwest
Johnson once again mixed masculine and feminine silhouettes when she paired a patterned suit from the Gucci pre-fall 2022 collection with a lingerie-inspired tulle bodysuit, also Gucci.
2022, Vanity Fair Oscars Party
Embellished pink Gucci gowns are Johnson’s specialty, but none could ever top this Old Hollywood-inspired pale pink dress from the spring 2022 collection. The fitted, plunging neckline provided some structure to the otherwise voluminous design, with sweeping sleeves and a massive train that were entirely embroidered with sequins and feathers.
2023, Sundance Film Festival
Just days after the release of her Gucci campaign for the Jackie 1961 bag, Johnson attended a dinner at the Sundance Film Festival in a full denim ensemble. The three-piece look included a denim trench coat, wide-leg pants and a corset top by Magda Butrym, which Johnson debuted with slightly darker hair.
2023, Gucci Cruise Show
Johnson headed to South Korea for the presentation of Gucci’s cruise 2024 collection, which was designed by the Gucci studio team as the fashion house awaits the start of its new creative director, Sabato De Sarno. Naturally, the longtime ambassador wore Gucci, opting for a sheer black dress that was embroidered with sequins and styled with a black leather trench coat and her Jackie 1961 bag.