Dame Joan Collins’ best style moments

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The name Joan Collins conjures many things. Glamour, of course. Wit, certainly. Husbands (she’s had five). That inimitable joie de vivre. But for followers of fashion, it’s the 88-year-old star’s personal style for which she is best known. From the sequins to the shoulderpads to the ever-present scarlet lipstick, it is bold, distinctive and very much her own.

Although Collins’ most famous role was the scheming Alexis Colby in Dynasty in the 1980s (based in part on Donald Trump), she was influencing the way we dress long before. In fact, she has been in the public eye since the early 1950s, when she became known as ‘Britain’s Bad Girl’ after playing delinquent teen Norma Hart in the film I Believe in You.

Even in the early days of her fame, Collins has had a sense of how to dress with impact. ‘At home’ photo shoots see her posing in wasp-waisted dresses and Capri pants. But while Audrey Hepburn was demure in these styles, Collins was sexy, with glimpses of cleavage and come-hither eyes.

By the Sixties we really see her honing the look for which we’ve come to know her – sequinned gowns and fur coats for her many film premieres. By the Seventies, it gets more outré, with ruffles and bold colour – but it’s in the Eighties that Collins’ style really comes into its own, and she’s retained elements of that aesthetic to this day.

“It’s extremely flattering to have big shoulders,” she told her goddaughter Cara Delevingne in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2019. “It makes your hips look smaller and your waist tinier. The styling was a bit over-the-top in the ’80s and ’90s: Some of the earrings were too big, the skirts too short, and the shoulders too exaggerated. But on the whole I think the look was fabulous.”

Collins’ style evolution spans eight decades and countless showstopping looks. These, though, are the highlights:

1953

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